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

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For these red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna's children died.

We and the labouring world are passing by:
Amid men's souls, that waver and give place,
Like the pale waters in their wintry race,
Under the passing stars, foam of the sky,
Lives on this lonely face.

Bow down, archangels, in your dim abode:
Before you were, or any hearts to beat,
Weary and kind one lingered by His seat;
He made the world to be a grassy road
Before her wandering feet.

About the headline (FAQ)

First published in National Observer, January 1892, revised same year

Confirmed with The Poetical Works of William B. Yeats in two volumes, volume 1 : Lyrical Poems, The Macmillan Company, New York and London, 1906, page 170.


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) , copyright © 2016, (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: 15
Word count: 109

Qui rêva que la beauté passe comme un...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Qui rêva que la beauté passe comme un rêve ?
Pour ces lèvres rouges, avec toute leur triste fierté,
Tristes qu'aucune nouvelle merveille ne puisse advenir,
Troie disparut dans un grand embrasement funèbre,
Et les enfants d'Usna périrent.

Nous et le monde laborieux nous passons :
Parmi les âmes des hommes, qui vacillent et laissent la place,
Comme les eaux pâles dans leur course hivernale,
Sous les étoiles passagères, écume du ciel,
Cette figure solitaire persiste.

Inclinez-vous, archanges, dans votre sombre demeure :
Avant que vous ne soyez, ou qu'un cœur ne batte,
Une personne lasse et douce s'attardait auprès de Son trône ;
Il fit le monde être un chemin herbeux
Devant ses pieds vagabonds.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Rosa mundi" = "La rose du monde"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2016 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: 2016-01-04
Line count: 15
Word count: 116