by Raymond Radiguet (1903 - 1923)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Paul et Virginia
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ciel! les colonies
Dénicheur de nids
Un oiseau sans ailes
Que fait Paul sans elle?
Où est Virginie?
Elle rajeunit
Ciel des colonies,
Paul et Virginie
Pour lui et pour elle,
C'était une ombrelle
Ciel! les colonies.

Note: this text refers to a novel called Paul et Virginie (1788) by Bernadin de Saint-Pierre, set in Mauritius, then a French colony.


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 (Laura Prichard) , "Paul and Virginia", copyright © 2019, (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: 11
Word count: 37

Paul and Virginia
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Heaven, the colonies. 
Digger of nests
A bird without wings
What does Paul do without her?
Where is Virginia?
She rejuvenates
Heaven of the colonies,
Paul and Virginia
For him and for her,
It was a parasol
Heaven! the colonies.

Translator's notes:
Title - These children are fatherless and fall in love at an early age.
Line 1 - the colonies, i.e., Maritius

This poem is from Radiguet’s only collection of poetry, Les joues en feu (1920), and refers to a Rousseau-influenced novel called Paul et Virginie (1788) by Bernadin de Saint-Pierre (1737-1814), set in Mauritius, then a French colony.

Poulenc and Radiguet were friends as youth. About this song, the composer wrote, “These few lines of Radiguet have always has a magical savor for me. In 1920 I set them to music. One rainy day a feeling of great melancholy helped me to find the tone that I believed to be right. I think it useful to bear in mind how modern poems are placed on the stage. It was this that gave me the idea of respecting the blank space in the printing of the poem before “Elle rajeunit” [bars 11-12]. If the tempo is not maintained strictly throughout, this small song, made of a little music, of much tenderness and of one silence, is ruined.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Laura Prichard, (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: 2019-12-03
Line count: 11
Word count: 40