by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Laura Claycomb, Peter Grunberg

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FIN GER GER
Scaramouche et Pulcinella
Qu'un mauvais dessein rassembla
Gesticulent, noirs [sur]1 la lune.

Cependant l'excellent docteur
Bolonais cueille avec lenteur
Des simples parmi l'herbe brune.

Lors sa fille, piquant minois,
Sous la charmille, en tapinois,
Se glisse demi-nue, en quête

De son beau pirate espagnol
Dont un [langoureux]2 rossignol
Clame la détresse à tue-tête.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Paul Verlaine, Fêtes galantes, Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1869, pages 25-26.

Note: All ampersands (&) as appear in the first publication are changed to "et".

1 Debussy: "sous"
2 Debussy: "amoureux"


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 English, a translation by Arthur Symons (1865 - 1945) , "Fantoches" ; composed by William Spencer Johnson.
  • Also set in Italian (Italiano), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Valentino Bucchi.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Anna Brull Piñol) , "Titelles", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Claycomb) (Peter Grunberg) , "Puppets", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Marionetit", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Marionetten", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Elaine Marie Ortiz-Arandes) , "Marionetten", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 53

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Scaramouche and Pulcinella, 
brought together by some evil scheme
gesticulate, black beneath the moon.

Meanwhile, the learned doctor 
from Bologna slowly gathers 
medicinal herbs in the brown grass.

Then his sassy-faced daughter
sneaks underneath the arbor
half-naked, in quest

Of her handsome Spanish pirate,
whose distress a languorous nightingale 
deafeningly proclaims.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by Laura Claycomb and Peter Grunberg, (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: 2007-10-25
Line count: 12
Word count: 51