Translation © by Emily Ezust

Reviens, reviens, ma bien‑aimée !
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER ITA
Reviens, reviens, ma bien-aimée !
Comme une fleur loin du soleil,
La fleur de ma vie est fermée,
Loin de ton sourire vermeil.

Entre nos cœurs [tant de]1 distance ;
Tant d'espace entre nos baisers.
Ô sort amer! ô dure absence !
Ô grands désirs inapaisés !

D'ici là-bas que de campagnes,
Que de villes et de hameaux,
Que de vallons et de montagnes,
À lasser le pied des chevaux !

Au pays qui me prend ma belle,
Hélas! si je pouvais aller ;
Et si mon corps avait une aile
Comme mon âme pour voler !

Par-dessus [les]2 vertes collines,
Les montagnes au front d'azur,
Les champs rayés et les ravines,
J'irais d'un vol rapide et sûr.

Le corps ne suit pas la pensée;
Pour moi, mon âme, va tout droit,
Comme une colombe blessée,
[T'abattre]3 au rebord de son toit.

Descends dans sa gorge divine,
Blonde et fauve comme de l'or,
Douce comme un duvet d'hermine,
Sa gorge, mon royal trésor ;

Et dis, mon âme, à cette belle :
«[Tu sais bien qu'il compte les jours!]4
Ô ma colombe! à tire d'aile,
Retourne au nid de nos amours.»

G. Bizet sets stanzas 1, 2, 4-6, 8
E. Tessier sets stanzas 1, 2, 4-6, 8
H. Berlioz sets stanzas 1-3
J. Depret sets stanzas 1, 2, 6, 8 in (at least) one setting - see below for more information
L. Kreutzer sets stanzas 1-3
P. Lacôme d'Estalenx sets stanzas 1-2, 4-5, 6, 8

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Théophile Gauthier, La comédie de la mort, Desessart editeur, Paris, 1838, page 283.

1 Berlioz: "quelle"
2 Bizet, David, Lavigne: "nos"
3 Berlioz, Pedrell: "S'abbatre"
4 Lavigne: appears as the last line of this verse.


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:

  • Also set in English, a translation by Theodore Baker (1851 - 1934) ; composed by Arthur Hyde.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Peter Cornelius (1824 - 1874) , "Trennung" [an adaptation] ; composed by Hector Berlioz.

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

  • ENG English [singable] (Samuel Byrne) , "Absence"
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , copyright © 2015
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Enrico Magnani) , "Assenza", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 191

Return, return, my beloved!
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Return, return, my beloved!
Like a flower far from the sun,
The flower of my life is shut,
Far from your rosy smile!

Between our hearts such distance!
Such space between our kisses!
O bitter destiny! O harsh absence! 
O great, unappeasable desires!

Between here and there what lands,
What cities and hamlets,
What valleys and montains,
To exhaust the feet of horses!

To the land that has taken my love
Ah! if only I could go;
If only my body had wings
With which to fly, like my soul!

Over [the]1 green hills,
Over mountains with azure brows,
Over scraped fields and ravines,
I would go in rapid and secure flight.

The body does not obey the thought;
For me, my soul goes straight ahead
And, like a wounded dove,
Collapses upon the edge of her roof.

Lower yourself onto that divine bosom,
As lovely and burnished as gold, 
As soft as an ermine duvet,
Her bosom, my royal treasure;

And say, my soul, to this beauty:
"You know well that he is counting the days!
O my dove! Take flight
And return to the nest of our loves."

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Translation of title "Absence" = "Absence"
1 Bizet, David, Lavigne: "our"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2015 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2015-01-28
Line count: 32
Word count: 190