Translation © by Gregory Ristow

La barque est petite et la mer immense
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
La barque est petite et la mer immense,
La vague nous jette au ciel en courroux,
Le ciel nous renvoie au flot en démence:
Près du mât rompu prions à genoux!
De nous à la tombe il n'est qu'une planche:
Peut-être ce soir, dans un lit amer,
Sous un froid linceul, fait d'écume blanche,
Irons-nous dormir, veillés par l'éclair!
Fleur du paradis, sainte Notre-Dame,
Si bonne aux marins en péril de mort,
Apaise le vent, fais [taire]1 la lame,
Et pousse du doigt notre esquif au port.
Nous te donnerons, si tu nous délivres,
Une belle robe en papier d'argent,
Un cierge à festons pesant quatre livres,
Et, pour ton Jésus, un petit Saint-Jean.

F. Schmitt sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

First published April 1844 in the revue L'Artiste

1 Fournier: "tomber"


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):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "V bouři"
  • ENG English (Gregory Ristow) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POL Polish (Polski) (Bronisława Ostrowska) , "W Burzy. Modlitwa", Kraków, first published 1911

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2009-12-06
Line count: 16
Word count: 114

The boat is small and the sea immense
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The boat is small and the sea immense,
The wave throws us skywards in ire,
The sky flings us at the tide in madness,
By the worn out mast we pray on our knees!
Between us and the tomb is but one plank:
Maybe tonight, in a bitter bed,
Under a cold shroud of white foam,
We will sleep, looked after by lightning!
Flower of paradise, holy Mother,
So good to imperiled sailors,
Appease the wind, silence the wave,
And nudge with a finger our skiff to port.
We will give you, if you deliver us,
A beautiful robe of silver foil,
A festooned, four-pound candle
And for your Jesus, a St. Jean miniature.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "La tempête" = "The tempest"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Gregory Ristow, (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: 2016-01-28
Line count: 16
Word count: 114