by Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

Les ballons
Language: English 
Against these turbid turquoise skies 
The light and luminous balloons 
Dip and drift like satin moons, 
Drift like silken butterflies; 

Reel with every windy gust, 
Rise and reel like dancing girls, 
Float like strange transparent pearls, 
Fall and float like silver dust. 

Now to the low leaves they cling, 
Each with coy fantastic pose, 
Each a petal of a rose 
Straining at a gossamer string. 

Then to the tall trees they climb, 
Like thin globes of amethyst, 
Wandering opals keeping tryst 
With the rubies of the lime.

First published in Lady's Pictorial (Christmas Number 1887) as one of the "Fantaisies Décoratives"


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 (Dezső Kosztolányi) , "Les ballons"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 87