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

Hope is the thing with feathers
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER GER
Hope is [the]1 thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Syderman: "a"; further changes may exist not noted.


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) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2011, (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: 69

L'Espoirest la chose avec des plumes
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
« L'Espoir » est la chose avec des plumes --
Qui est perchée dans l'âme --
Et chante l'air sans les paroles --
Et ne s'arrête jamais -- jamais --

Et le plus doucement -- dans les Coups de vents -- on l'entend --
Et cruelle devrait être la tempête --
Qui pourrait rendre confus le petit Oiseau
Qui a gardé tant de personnes au chaud --

Je l'ai entendu dans le pays le plus froid --
Et sur la Mer la plus étrange --
Pourtant -- jamais -- rendu à toute Extrémité,
Il n'a demandé une miette -- à moi.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Hope" = "Espoir"
"Hope is a thing with feathers" = "L'Espoir est une chose avec des plumes"
"Hope is the thing with feathers" = "L'Espoir est la chose avec des plumes"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2018 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: 2018-10-14
Line count: 12
Word count: 86