by William Smyth (1765 - 1849)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

The hero may perish his country to save
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
The hero may perish his country to save,
  And he lives in the records of fame;
The sage may the dungeons of tyranny brave --
  Ever honour'd and blest be his name!
But virtue, that silently toils [or]1 expires,
  No wreath for the brow to [entwine]2,
That asks but a smile -- but a fond sigh requires --
  O woman! that virtue is thine!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal for Oct 1823 ... Jan. 1824, Vol. XXXIX, Edinburh, 1824, page 81.

Note: in the score of Beethoven's "The hero may perish", the words "hero", "sage", "virtue", and "woman" are capitalized.
1 in Beethoven's setting "Womankind" : "and"
2 in Beethoven's setting "Womankind" : "adorn"


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

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (G. Pertz) , title unknown
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title unknown, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2005-01-16
Line count: 8
Word count: 61

Le héros peut mourir pour sauver son...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Le héros peut mourir pour sauver son pays,
  Et il vit dans les registres de la renommée,
Le sage peut braver les cachots de la tyrannie,
  À jamais son nom sera honoré et béni !
Mais la vertu qui silencieusement peine [ou]1 expire,
  Sans couronne, sans couronne pour orner le front,
Qui ne demande qu'un sourire, qui n'a besoin que d'un soupir affectueux ;
  Ô femme, cette vertu est la tienne !

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Title "Womankind = "La femme"
1 pour "Womankind" : "et"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Guy Laffaille, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2014-09-28
Line count: 8
Word count: 72