Translation © by Peter Low

Enfant aux airs d'impératrice
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Enfant aux airs d'impératrice,
Colombe aux regards de faucon,
Tu me hais, mais c'est mon caprice,
De me planter sous ton balcon.

Là, je veux, le pied sur la borne,
Pinçant les nerfs, tapant le bois,
Faire luire à ton carreau morne
Ta lampe et ton front à la fois.

Je défends à toute guitare
De bourdonner aux alentours.
Ta rue est à moi : je la barre
Pour y chanter seul mes amours,

Et je coupe les deux oreilles
Au premier racleur de jambon
Qui devant la chambre où tu veilles
Braille un couplet mauvais ou bon.

Dans sa gaine mon couteau bouge ;
Allons ! qui veut de l'incarnat ?
À son jabot qui veut du rouge
Pour faire un bouton de grenat ?

Le sang dans les veines s'ennuie,
Car il est fait pour se montrer ;
Le temps est noir, gare la pluie !
Poltrons, hâtez-vous de rentrer.

Sortez, vaillants ! sortez, bravaches !
L'avant-bras couvert du manteau,
Que sur vos faces de gavaches
J'écrive des croix au couteau !

Qu'ils s'avancent ! seuls ou par bande,
De pied ferme je les attends.
À ta gloire il faut que je fende
Les naseaux de ces capitans.

Au ruisseau qui gêne ta marche
Et pourrait salir tes pieds blancs,
Corps du Christ ! je veux faire une arche
Avec les côtes des galants.

Pour te prouver combien je t'aime,
Dis ! je tuerai qui tu voudras :
J'attaquerai Satan lui-même,
Si pour linceul j'ai tes deux draps.

Porte sourde ! ... Fenêtre aveugle ! ...
Tu dois pourtant ouïr ma voix ;
Comme un taureau blessé je beugle,
Des chiens excitant les abois !

Au moins plante un clou dans ta porte,
Un clou pour accrocher mon cœur.
À quoi sert que je le remporte
Fou de rage, mort de langueur ?

About the headline (FAQ)

First published in the novel "Militona" in the journal La Presse, January 6 1847.


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 (Peter Low) , copyright © 2022, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2013-03-30
Line count: 48
Word count: 305

Child with the airs of an empress
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Child with the airs of an empress,
dove with the gaze of a falcon,
you hate me, yet it's my whim
to take a stand under your balcony.

There, with my foot on the milestone,
pinching my nerves and tapping the wood,
I want to make the lamp in your dreary window
light up - and your face at the same time.

I forbid any guitar
to be strummed in the neighbourhood.
Your street is mine: I'm blocking it
to sing my love for you solo.

And I'll cut off the two ears
of the first hopeful ham-scraper
who approaches the room where you lie awake
and bawls out a couplet - bad or good.

My knife is stirring in its scabbard.
Hey, anyone want some redness?
Who wants a drop of blood to make 
a garnet button in his ruff?

Blood grows bored in the veins;
it is meant to show itself.
The weather is dark, beware of rain!
Cowards, make haste to go home!

Come show yourselves, brave men and braggarts!
With my forearm covered by my cape,
let me inscribe crosses with my knife 
on your nefarious faces.

Let them advance, in a group or alone,
I stand firm awaiting them,
For your glory I need to slash
the noses of those warriors.

Over the gutter that impedes your steps
and could dirty your pretty white feet,
I wish to make (by Christ's body!) 
an arch from those suitors' ribs.

To prove to you how much I love you,
hey, I will kill whoever you wish.
I will set upon Satan himself,
if I have your two sheets as a shroud.

Your door is deaf! Your window is blind...
And yet you must hear my voice.
I bellow like a wounded bull,
thus making the dogs bark louder.

At least put a nail in your wall,
a nail I can hang my heart on.
What use would it be to carry it away again,
crazy with rage, dead with languor?

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2022 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: 2022-05-02
Line count: 48
Word count: 333