by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Sur l'herbe
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
L'abbé divague. - Et toi, marquis,
Tu mets de travers ta perruque.
- Ce vieux vin de Chypre est exquis
Moins, [Camargo]1, que votre nuque.

- Ma flamme . . . Do, mi, sol, la, si.
- L'abbé, ta noirceur se dévoile.
- Que je meure, Mesdames, si 
Je ne vous décroche une étoile !

- Je voudrais être petit chien !
Embrassons nos bergères, l'une
Après l'autre. - Messieurs, eh bien ?
Do, mi, sol. - Hé ! bonsoir, la Lune !

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Camargo was an eighteenth-century ballerina.


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):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "On the grass", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 83

On the grass
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The abbot rambles. - And you, Marquis,
You have put your wig on askew.
- This old wine from Cyprus is exquisite
Less, Camargo, than the nape of your neck.

- My love... Do, mi, sol, la, si.
- Abbot, your darkness reveals itself.
- May I die, Ladies, if 
I fail to unhook a star for each of you!

- I would like to be a little dog!
[We] embrace our shepherdesses, the one
After the other. - Gentlemen, well then?
Do, mi, sol. - Hey! good evening, moon!

Translator's notes:
Line 1-4: "Camargo" - Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo (1720-1770) was a leading ballet dancer at the Paris Opéra who appeared in a famous pastoral portrait by Lancret.
Line 2-1: "My love" - literally, "my flame"
Line 2-1: "Do, mi, sol, la, si" - the tones C, E, G, A, B
Line 2-2: "your darkness" - referring to the figurative quailty of being base, bad, or evil
Line 3-4: "Do, mi, sol" - the tones C, E, G


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (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: 2016-02-10
Line count: 12
Word count: 90