by Mellin de Saint-Gelais (1487 - 1558)
Translation © by David Jonathan Justman

À une dame
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Au temps heureux que ma jeune ignorance
Reçut l'enfant qui des dieux est le maistre,
Vous cognoissant qu'il ne faisoit que naistre,
Voulustes bien le nourrir d'esperance.

Mais puisque vous et sa perseverance
L'avez fait grand plus qu'autre onc ne peut estre,
Au lieu d'espoir vous le laissez repaistre
Seul à part luy de mon mal et souffrance.

Ne pour essay que je fasse, ou effort,
Possible m'est l'oster de sa demeure
Car plus que moy il est devenu fort.

Maugré moy donc il faut qu'il y demeure,
Mais maugré luy aussy ay ce confort
Qu'il sortira au moins mais que je meure.


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 (David Jonathan Justman) , "To a lady", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2004-06-27
Line count: 14
Word count: 103

To a lady
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
In that happy time when my young innocence
Received the child who is master of the gods,
You, knowing that he had just been born,
Rightly wanted to nourish him on hope.

But because you and his perseverance
Made him grow more than anyone could otherwise,
Instead of feeding him on hope you let him feast
On my pain and suffering alone.

By no attempt or effort that I make
Can I oust him from his home,
Because he has become stronger than I am.

In spite of myself, then, I must put up with his staying there,
But in spite of him, I have this comfort, too,
That at least when I die he will leave.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 by David Jonathan Justman, (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: 2004-07-05
Line count: 14
Word count: 117