by Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Word over all, beautiful as the sky!
Beautiful that war, and all its deeds of carnage,/
   must in time be utterly lost;
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night, /
   incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this soil'd world:
...For my enemy is dead -- a man divine as myself is dead;
I look where he lies, white-faced and still, in the coffin -- I draw near;
[I bend]1 down, and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Rorem: "Bend down"


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) , "Réconciliation", copyright © 2018, (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: 8
Word count: 83

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Mot sur tout, beau comme le ciel,
Si beau que la guerre et tous ses actes de carnage/
  doivent dans le temps être complètement perdus,
Que les mains des sœurs Mort et Nuit /
  incessamment et doucement se lavent, et toujours encore, ce monde terreux ;
Car mon ennemi est mort, un homme divin comme moi-même est mort,
Je regarde où il gît le visage pâle et encore dans le cercueil -- je m'approche,
M'incline et touche légèrement avec mes lèvres le visage blanc dans le cercueil.


  • 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: 2018-12-16
Line count: 8
Word count: 86