by Albert Victor Samain (1858 - 1900)
Translation © by Andrew Schneider

Lourde pèse la nuit au bord du Nil...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Lourde pèse la nuit au bord du Nil obscur.
Cléopâtre, à genoux sous les astres qui brûlent,
Soudain pâle, écartant ses femmes qui reculent,
Déchire sa tunique en un grand geste impur,

Et dresse éperdument sur la haute terrasse
Son corps vierge, gonflé d'amour comme un fruit mûr.
Toute nue, elle vibre! et, debout sous l'azur,
Se tord, couleuvre ardente, au vent tiède et vorace.

Elle veut, et ses yeux fauves dardent l'éclair,
Que le monde ait, ce soir, le parfum de sa chair...
O sombre fleur du sexe éparse en l'air nocturne!

Et le Sphynx, immobile aux sables de l'ennui,
Sent un feu pénétrer son granit taciturne;
Et le désert immense a remué sous lui.

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)

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

  • ENG English (Andrew Schneider) , "Cleopatra II", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Dezső Kosztolányi) , no title

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-10-24
Line count: 14
Word count: 116

Cleopatra II
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The night weighs heavily by the dark banks of the Nile.
Cleopatra, kneeling under the burning stars,
Suddenly pale, dismissing her ladies, who withdraw,
Rends asunder her tunic in a grand, impure gesture,

And erects in a passion upon the high terrace
Her virginal body, swollen with love, like a ripe fruit.
Completely naked, she vibrates! And standing under the deep blue,
She turns herself, the burning serpent, upon the tepid and ravenous wind.

She wishes (her wild eyes shoot like lightning)
That the world take on, this evening, the perfume of her flesh...
O sombre flower of scattered sex in the night air!

And the Sphinx, immobile upon the sands of boredom,
Feels a fire penetrating her stony-silent frame,
And the immense desert shifted beneath her.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Andrew Schneider, (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: 2019-06-13
Line count: 14
Word count: 127