by Stéphane Mallarmé (1842 - 1898)
Translation © by Nicolas Gounin

Placet futile
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FIN
Princesse ! à jalouser le destin d'une Hébé
Qui poind sur cette tasse au baiser de vos lèvres,
J'use mes feux mais n'ai rang discret que d'abbé
Et ne figurerai même nu sur le Sèvres.

Comme je ne suis pas ton bichon embarbé,
Ni la pastille ni du rouge, ni Jeux mièvres
Et que sur moi je sais ton regard clos tombé,
Blonde dont les coiffeurs divins sont des orfèvres !

Nommez-nous... toi de qui tant de ris framboisés
Se joignent en troupeau d'agneaux apprivoisés
Chez tous broutant les vœux et bêlant aux délires,

Nommez-nous... pour qu'Amour ailé d'un éventail
M'y peigne flûte aux doigts endormant ce bercail,
Princesse, nommez-nous berger de vos sourires.

Confirmed with Stéphane Mallarmé, Collected Poems and Other Verse, Oxford University Press, 2008, page 8.


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Fútil súplica", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Nicolas Gounin) , "Futile Petition", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Tolkuton anomus", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Nicolas Gounin [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 114

Futile Petition
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Princess! in envying the fate of a Hebe,
Who appears on this cup at the kiss of your lips,
I use up my ardor, but my modest station is only that of abbé
And I won't even appear nude on the Sévres porcelain.

Since I am not your bewhiskered lapdog,
Nor lozenge, nor rouge, nor affected games,
And since I know that you look on me with indifferent eyesy
Blonde whose divine hairdressers are goldsmiths!

Appoint me ... you whose many raspberried laughs
Are gathered into flocks of docile lambs,
Nibbling at all vows and bleating deliriously,

Appoint me ... in order that Love, with a fan as his wings,
May paint me fingering a flute and lulling this sheepfold,
Princess, appoint me shepherd of your smiles.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © by Nicolas Gounin, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 127