by Alfred Edward Housman (1859 - 1936)
Translation © by Patricia Dillard Eguchi

When I was one‑and‑twenty
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER HEB
When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard [a wise man]1 say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
 But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
 But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
 No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
 Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
 And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
 And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Steele: "an old man"

Authorship:

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) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Als ich war einundzwanzig", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "כאשר הייתי בן עשרים ואחת", copyright © 2014, (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: 16
Word count: 82

Quand j’avais vingt‑et‑un an
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Quand j’avais vingt-et-un an,
J’entendis un vieil homme dire :
« Donne des couronnes, tes livres et tes guinées,1
Mais pas ton cœur,
Donne perles et rubis,
Mais garde ta volonté libre »
Mais j’avais vingt-et-un ans,
Inutile de me parler.

Quand j’avais vingt-et-un ans,
Je l’entendis ajouter,
« Le cœur une fois donné,
N’est jamais donné en vain.
Il est payé avec bien des soupirs,
Et vendu avec des regrets infinis. »
Et j’ai vingt-deux ans,
Et comme c’est vrai, trop vrai.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Translations of title(s):
"Heart wounds" = "Plaies du cœur"
"When I was one and twenty" = "Quand j’avais vingt-et-un ans"

1 Pièces de monnaie anglaises

Authorship:

  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2018 by Patricia Dillard Eguchi, (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.
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This text was added to the website: 2018-08-21
Line count: 16
Word count: 83