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

Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
I would not have a god come in
To shield me suddenly from sin,
And set my house of life to rights;
Nor angels with bright burning wings
Ordering my earthly thoughts and things;
Rather my own frail guttering lights
Wind blown and nearly beaten out;
Rather the terror of the nights
And long, sick groping after doubt;
Rather be lost than let my soul
Slip vaguely from my own control --
Of my own spirit let me be
In sole though feeble mastery.

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 48.


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) , "Maîtrise", 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: 13
Word count: 83

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Je ne voudrais pas qu'un dieu vînt
Pour me protéger soudain du péché,
Et mettre la maison de ma vie en ordre ;
Ni des anges aux ailes flamboyantes
Mettant en ordre mes pensées et objets terrestres ;
Plutôt mes propres fragiles lumières vacillantes
Malmenées par le vent et presque étouffées ;
Plutôt la terreur des nuits
Et un long et dégoûtant tâtonnement dans le doute ;
Plutôt être perdue que de laisser mon âme
Glisser vaguement hors de mon propre contrôle.
De mon propre esprit, laissez-moi avoir
Seule la maîtrise, si faible soit-elle.


  • 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: 13
Word count: 94