by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE ITA
How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and [war's]1 alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

View original text (without footnotes)
Note: the poem is headed by this quote: "In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms" - Thomas Mann.
1 Wilkinson: "man's


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) (Guy Laffaille) , "Politique", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Politica", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-02-17
Line count: 12
Word count: 64

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Comment puis-je, avec cette fille devant moi,
Fixer mon attention
Sur la politique romaine, russe
ou celle de l'Espagne ?
Pourtant ici il y a un homme qui a voyagé qui sait
De quoi il parle,
Et il y a un politicien
Qui a lu et pensé,
Et peut-être que ce qu'ils disent est vrai
Sur la guerre et les craintes de guerre,
Mais, si je pouvais être jeune à nouveau
Et la tenir dans mes bras !


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 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: 2016-12-13
Line count: 12
Word count: 78