Translation © by Barbara Miller

Sur le balcon où tu te penches
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Sur le balcon où tu te penches
Je veux monter... efforts perdus !
Il est trop haut, et tes mains blanches
N'atteignent pas mes bras tendus.

Pour déjouer ta duègne avare,
Jette [un collier, un ruban]1 d'or ;
Ou des cordes de ta guitare
Tresse une échelle, ou bien encor...

Ôte tes fleurs, défais ton peigne,
Penche sur moi tes cheveux longs,
Torrent de jais dont le flot baigne
Ta jambe ronde et tes talons.

Aidé par cette échelle étrange,
Légèrement je gravirai,
Et jusqu'au ciel, sans être un ange,
Dans les parfums je monterai !

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Viardot-García : "un ruban, un collier"


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):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Žebřík lásky"
  • ENG English (Barbara Miller) , "Serenade", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: John Versmoren

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 96

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
To the balcony from which you lean
I want to rise, wasted effort!
It is too high, and your white hands
Don't reach my outstretched arms!
In order to thwart your greedy duenna,
Throw a ribbon, a golden necklace
Or some strings from your guitar.
Weave a ladder, or still better
Take off some flowers, undo your comb,
Lean down to me your long hair,
Torrents of jet black of which the waves bathe
Your round leg and your heels.
Helped by this strange ladder,
Lightly I will climb
And even to the sky without being an angel,
In the sweet fragrances I will rise.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 by Barbara Miller, (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: 2004-04-27
Line count: 16
Word count: 105