by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

Early in the day it was whispered
Language: English  after the Bangla (Bengali) 
Available translation(s): FRE GER IRI
Early in the day it was whispered 
that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, 
and never a soul in the world 
would know of this our pilgrimage 
to no country and to no end.

In that shoreless ocean, 
at thy silently listening smile 
my songs would swell in melodies, 
free as waves, free from all bondage of words.

Is the time not come yet? 
Are there works still to do? 
Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore 
and in the fading light 
the seabirds come flying to their nests.

Who knows when the chains will be off, 
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, 
vanish into the night?

About the headline (FAQ)


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2010-11-03
Line count: 17
Word count: 116

Il fut murmuré tôt le matin
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Il fut murmuré tôt le matin
que nous devions naviguer sur un bateau, seuls toi et moi,
et pas une âme au monde
ne devrait apprendre notre pèlerinage
vers nul pays et nulle fin.

Sur cet océan sans rivage,
devant ton sourire silencieux et attentif,
mes chants mélodieux s'élèveraient,
libres comme l'onde, libres de l'entrave des mots.

Le temps n'est-il encore point venu ?
Y a-t-il encore des tâches à accomplir ?
Vois, le soir est tombé sur le rivage
et dans la lumière qui s'estompe
les oiseaux volent vers leurs nids.

Qui sait quand les amarres seront larguées,
et quand le bateau,comme la dernière lueur du soleil couchant,
disparaîtra dans la nuit ?

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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This text was added to the website: 2014-06-29
Line count: 17
Word count: 114