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by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Amy Pfrimmer

L'heure du berger
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG GER HUN HUN
La lune est rouge au brumeux horizon ;
Dans un brouillard qui danse la prairie
S'endort fumeuse, et la grenouille crie
Par les joncs verts où circule un frisson ;

Les fleurs des eaux referment leurs corolles ;
Des peupliers profilent aux lointains,
Droits et serrés, leurs spectres incertains ;
Vers les buissons errent les lucioles ;

Les chats-huants s'éveillent, et sans bruit
Rament l'air noir avec leurs ailes lourdes,
Et le zénith s'emplit de lueurs sourdes.
Blanche, Vénus émerge, et c'est la Nuit.

Confirmed with Paul Verlaine, Poëmes saturniens, Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1866, in Paysages tristes, pages 59-60.


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 Fr. Hrúbin ; composed by Lubor Bárta.

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

  • ENG English (Corinne Orde) , "The shepherd's hour", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Amy Pfrimmer) , "The shepherd's hour", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Bergen Weeks Applegate) , "The Shepherd's Hour", appears in Poems Saturnine, in 3. Somber Landscapes, no. 6
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Pierre Mathé) , "Die Schäferstunde", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , "Pásztoróra", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , "Pásztoróra", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POL Polish (Polski) (Bronisława Ostrowska) , "Przedwieczerz", Kraków, J. Mortkowicz, first published 1911

Research team for this text: Corinne Orde , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2007-11-20
Line count: 12
Word count: 84

The shepherd's hour
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The moon is red in the misty horizon; 
In a dancing fog, the hazy meadow 
falls asleep smoking, and the frog cries out
By the green bulrushes where a shiver streams.  

The water-flowers close their corollas; 
Poplars, straight and close together,
loom their uncertain shadows in the distance 
The fireflies stray towards the hedges;  

The barn-owls wake up, and without any noise 
Row the black air with their heavy wings, 
And the zenith fills with muted white lights, 
Venus emerges, and it is Night


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2020 by Amy Pfrimmer, (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: 2020-02-29
Line count: 12
Word count: 84