by Sara Teasdale (1884 - 1933)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Unless I learn to ask no help
     From any other soul but mine,
To seek no strength in waving reeds
     Nor shade beneath a straggling pine;
Unless I learn to look at Grief
     Unshrinking from her tear-blind eyes,
And take from Pleasure fearlessly
     Whatever gifts will make me wise --
Unless I learn these things on earth,
Why was I ever given birth?

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 49.


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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Leçons", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-02-13
Line count: 10
Word count: 62

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
À moins que j''apprenne à ne pas demander d'aide
   À une autre âme que la mienne,
À ne pas chercher de force dans les roseaux ondoyants
   Ni d'ombre sous un pin efflanqué ;
À moins que j'apprenne à regarder le Chagrin
   Dilater ses yeux aveuglés par les larmes,
Et sans crainte prendre du Plaisir
   Je ne sais quels cadeaux me faisant sage,
À moins que sur terre j'apprenne ces choses,
Pourquoi fus-je mise au monde ?


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2015 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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2015-10-13
Line count: 10
Word count: 76