by Maurice Maeterlinck (1862 - 1949)
Translation © by Barbara Miller

Ô serre au milieu des forêts !
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Ô serre au milieu des forêts !
Et vos portes à jamais closes !
Et tout ce qu'il y a sous votre coupole !
Et dans mon âme en vos analogies !

Les pensées d'une princesse qui a faim,
L'ennui d'un matelot dans le désert,
Une musique de cuivreaux fenêtres des incurables.
Allez aux angles les plus tièdes !
On dirait une femme évanouie un jour de moisson :
Il y a des postillons dans la cour de l'hospice ;
Au loin, passe un chasseur d'élans, devenu infirmier.

Examinez au clair de lune !
(Oh! rien n'y est à sa place !)
On dirait une folle devant les juges,
Un navire de guerre à pleines voiles sur un canal,
Des oiseaux de nuit sur des lys,
Un glas vers midi,
(Là-bàs sous ces cloches !)
Une étape de malades dans la prairie,
Une odeur d'éther un jour de soleil.

Mon Dieu ! Mon Dieu ! Quand aurons-nous la pluie,
Et la neige et le vent dans la serre !

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 (Barbara Miller) , "Hothouse", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sophie Huet) , "Hothouse", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 22
Word count: 169

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
O greenhouse in the middle of the forests!
And your doors forever sealed!
And all that there is under your dome!
And in my soul, in your analogies!

The thoughts of a hungry princess,
The boredom of a sailor in the desert,
A blaring, metallic1 music at the windows of the incurably ill.
Go to the coolest2 corners!
One would say a woman who disappeared one harvest day,
There are horse drivers in the courtyard of the hospital.
In the distance passes a deer hunter who has become a nurse

Examine it in the moonlight. 
Oh, nothing is in its right place.
One would say a crazy woman before judges,
A warship under full sail on a canal
Some night birds on some lilies
The tolling of a bell toward noontime
(there under the glass bells!)
A halting of sick people in the plain
The odor of ether one sunny day

My God, My God! When will we have rain
And snow and wind inside the hothouse!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 literally, "copper"
2 literally, "the most tepid"


  • 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: 2004-04-29
Line count: 22
Word count: 167