by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Le piano que baise une main frêle
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Le piano que baise une main frêle,
Luit dans le soir rose et gris vaguement,
Tandis qu'avec un très léger bruit d'aile,
Un air bien vieux, bien faible et bien charmant,
Rôde discret, épeuré quasiment,
Par le boudoir longtemps parfumé d'Elle.

Qu'est-ce que c'est que ce berceau soudain
Qui lentement dorlote mon pauvre être ?
Que voudrais-tu de moi, doux Chant badin ?
Qu'as-tu voulu, fin refrain incertain
Qui vas tantôt mourir vers la fenêtre 
Ouverte un peu sur le petit jardin ?

About the headline (FAQ)


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Czech (Čeština), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Josef Bohuslav Foerster.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Serge Bortkiewicz (1877 - 1952) , "Das Klavier liebkost von dem Händchen" ; composed by Serge Bortkiewicz.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by V.-G. Pergament.
  • Also set in Slovak (Slovenčina), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Vladimír Rusó.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

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: 83

The piano kissed by a delicate hand
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The piano kissed by a delicate hand
Gleams vaguely in the pink and grey evening light,
While with a very light sound of wings,
A melody, very old, very feeble, and very charming
Floats unobtrusively, almost faltering,
Around the boudoir that has long been perfumed with her scent.

What is this lullaby all of a sudden,
That slowly caresses my poor being?
What would you ask of me, sweet playful song?
What did you want, subtle and tentative refrain
That will shortly die away by the window
That is opened a little onto the small garden?

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2019-11-26
Line count: 12
Word count: 96