Translation © by Thomas Whitman

Chanson triste
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Dans les profondes mers 
naquit la perle ambrée,
Au pied des sapins verts, 
la violette en fleur,
Dans l'air bleu du matin, 
la goutte de rosée,
Moi, dans ton cœur !

En un royal collier 
la perle ronde est morte,
En un vase élégant, 
la violette en fleur,
Au baiser du soleil 
la goutelette est morte,
Moi, dans ton cœur !

Ici-bas les choses exquises,
Et qui souvent ne parlent pas,
Sont bien mortes quand on les brise ;
Par pitié, ne les brise pas !

Car ces frêles et tendres choses,
Ailes fines de papillons,
Plumes d'oiseau, branches de roses,
Disparaissent dans le sillon.

Mon pauvre rêve de bonheur
Est bien mort, ainsi que la rose,
Le jour sombre où j'ai, dans mon cœur,
Senti qu'on brisait quelque chose !


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):

  • ENG English (Thomas Whitman) , "Sad song", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: John Versmoren

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 26
Word count: 131

Sad song
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
In the deep seas
The amber pearl was born,
At the foot of the green firs,
The violet in bloom,
In the blue morning air,
The drop of dew,
Me, in your heart!

In a royal necklace
The round pearl dies,
In an elegant vase,
The violet in bloom,
In the kiss of the sun
The small dewdrop dies,
Me in your heart!

These are exquisite things
That often do not speak,
They are dead when one breaks them;
For pity, do not break them!

Because these frail and tender things,
Fine wings of butterflies,
Bird feathers, rose branches
Disappear in the furrow.

My poor dream of happiness
Is dead, like the rose,
The somber day when I, in my heart,
felt something broken!


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Thomas Whitman, (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: 2019-01-15
Line count: 26
Word count: 124