by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

After great pain, a formal feeling comes...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER GER
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions 'was it He, that bore,'
And 'Yesterday, or Centuries before'?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: READING EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.


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):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , no title, copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Bertram Kottmann

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 13
Word count: 83

Après une grande douleur, un sentiment...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Après une grande douleur, un sentiment formel arrive --
les Nerfs s'assoient cérémonieusement, comme des Tombes --
Le Cœur raide demande « était-ce Lui, qui a supporté »,
Et « Hier, ou des Siècles avant » ?

Les Pieds, mécaniquement, tournent --
Sur un chemin de Bois,
Sur la Terre, dans l'Air, ou N'importe où --
Devenus indifférents,
Satisfaction de Quartz , comme une pierre --

C'est l'Heure de Plomb --
Dans le souvenir, si on survit,
Comme des personnes qui Gèlent, se souviennent de la Neige --
D'abord -- le Froid -- puis la Stupeur -- puis le lâcher prise --

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "After great pain" = "Après une grande douleur"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2016 by Guy Laffaille, (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: 2016-11-08
Line count: 13
Word count: 91