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

If I make the lashes dark
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.

What if I look upon a man
As though on my beloved,
And my blood be cold the while
And my heart unmoved?
Why should he think me cruel
Or that he is betrayed?
I'd have him love the thing that was
Before the world was made. 

About the headline (FAQ)


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, 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: 2009-01-03
Line count: 16
Word count: 88

Si je fais mes cils plus sombres
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Si je fais mes cils plus sombres
Et mes yeux plus clairs
Et mes lèvres plus rouges
Ou demande si tout est bien,
De miroir en miroir,
Aucune vanité n'est affichée :
Je cherche le visage que j'avais
Avant que le monde ne soit fait.

Qu'importe si je regarde un homme 
Comme s'il était mon amant,
Et qu'en cet instant mon sang soit glacé
Et mon cœur indifférent ?
Pourquoi devrait-il penser que je suis cruelle
Ou qu'il est trahi ?
J'aurais voulu qu'il aime la chose qui était.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Before the world was made" = "Avant que le monde ne soit fait"


  • 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: 89