by Victor Marie Hugo (1802 - 1885)
Translation © by Peter Low

Puisqu'ici‑bas toute âme
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG SPA
Puisqu'ici-bas toute âme
Donne à quelqu'un
Sa musique, sa flamme,
Ou son parfum ;

Puisqu'ici[-bas]1 [chaque]2 chose
Donne toujours
Son épine ou sa rose
A ses amours ;

[Puisqu'avril]3 donne aux chênes
Un bruit charmant ;
Que la nuit donne aux peines
L'oubli dormant.

Puisque l'air à la branche
Donne l'oiseau ;
Que l'aube à la pervenche
Donne un peu d'eau ;

Puisque, lorsqu'elle arrive
S'y reposer,
L'onde amère à la rive
Donne un baiser ;

Je te donne, à cette heure,
Penché sur toi,
La chose la meilleure
Que j'ai en moi !

Reçois donc ma pensée,
Triste d'ailleurs,
Qui, comme une rosée,
T'arrive en pleurs !

Reçois mes voeux sans nombre,
O mes amours !
Reçois la flamme ou l'ombre
De tous mes jours !

Mes transports pleins d'ivresses,
Pur de soupçons,
Et toutes les caresses
De mes chansons !

Mon esprit qui sans voile
Vogue au hazard,
Et qui n'a pour étoile
Que ton regard !

Ma muse, que les heures
Bercent rêvant
Qui, pleurant quand tu pleures,
Pleure souvent !

Reçois, mon bien céleste,
O ma beauté,
Mon cœur, dont rien ne reste,
L'amour ôté !

G. Fauré sets stanzas 1-3, 5-9, 11, 12
R. Hahn sets stanzas 1, 2, 4-9
E. Lalo sets stanzas 1, 8, 6, 10, 7, 9
H. Monpou sets stanzas 1, 2, 4-10, 12
L. Niedermeyer sets stanzas 1-3, 5-8, 10-12
C. Saint-Saëns sets stanzas 1, 2, 4-10, 12

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Hahn.
2 Hugo: "toute"
3 Fauré: "Puis qu'Avril"


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:

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

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "As each soul here below", copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Peter Low) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) [singable] (Angelo Zanardini) , "Dolce pensier"
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Alberto Bonati) , "Ya que aquí abajo toda alma", copyright © 2007, (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: 48
Word count: 190

Since here on earth each soul
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Since here on earth each soul
gives to another one
its music, its flame,
or its perfume;
since here on earth each thing
always gives
its thorn or its rose
to its beloved;
since April gives to the oaks
a charming rustling noise,
and night gives to troubled minds
the oblivion of sleep;
since to the branch
the air gives the bird,
since to periwinkles
the dawn gives drops of dew;
and since the ocean wave
when it comes to rest
gives a kiss
to the shore;
I give you now,
as I lean over you,
the very best thing
that I have inside me!
So accept my thought
(a sad one, as it happens)
which like the dew
reaches you as teardrops.
Accept my countless wishful words,
oh my beloved!
Accept the flame or shadow
of all my days!
Accept my passionate raptures,
free of all suspicion,
and all the caresses
of my songs;
and my mind which travels the seas,
at random with no sail,
and follows no star
except your eyes;
and my muse, dreamily rocked
by the passing hours,
which weeps when you weep
and so weeps often.
Accept, oh my beauty,
my heavenly treasure,
this my heart which would be nothing
if love were removed!

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Singable translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2020 by Peter Low, (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: 2020-03-11
Line count: 48
Word count: 210