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by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

Men improve with the years
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
I am worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady's beauty
As though I had found in book
A pictured beauty,
Pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet and yet
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth;
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 246.

First published in Little Review, June 1917


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) , "Les hommes s'améliorent avec l'âge", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2009-01-20
Line count: 18
Word count: 90

Les hommes s'améliorent avec l'âge
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Je suis fatigué par les rêves,
Triton de marbre usé par le temps
Parmi les jets d'eau ;
Et tout le jour je contemple
La beauté de cette dame
Comme si j'avais trouvé dans un livre
L'image d'une beauté,
Content de m'être empli les yeux
Ou les oreilles attentives,
Content de n'être que sage,
Car les hommes s'améliorent avec l'âge ;
Et pourtant, et pourtant
Est-ce mon rêve ou la vérité ?
Oh puissions-nous nous être rencontrés
Lors de ma brûlante jeunesse ;
Mais je vieillis parmi les rêves,
Triton de marbre usé par le temps
Parmi les jets d'eau.


  • 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: 2015-12-28
Line count: 18
Word count: 100