by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Laura L. Nagle

Ah! Seigneur, qu'ai‑je? Hélas? me voici...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ah! Seigneur, qu'ai-je? Hélas? me voici tout en larmes
D'une joie extraordinaire: votre voix
Me fait comme du bien et du mal à la fois,
Et le mal et le bien, tout a les mêmes charmes.

Je ris, je pleure, et c'est comme un appel aux armes
D'un clairon pour des champs de bataille où je vois
Des anges bleus et blancs portés sur des pavois,
Et ce clairon m'enlève en de fières alarmes.

J'ai l'extase et j'ai la terreur d'être choisi,
Je suis indigne, mais je sais votre clémence.
Ah! Quel effort, mais quelle ardeur! Et me voici

Plein d'une humble prière, encore qu'un trouble immense
Brouille l'espoir que votre voix me révéla, 
Et j'aspire en tremblant.

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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura L. Nagle) , title 1: "Oh Lord, what is wrong with me?", copyright © 2006, (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: 14
Word count: 118

Oh Lord, what is wrong with me?
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Oh Lord, what is wrong with me? Alas! here am I in tears
Born of extraordinary joy: Your voice
Does me good and evil all at once,
And both evil and good, all have the same charms.

I laugh, I cry, and it is like a call to arms
From a bugle for fields of battle where I see
White and blue angels upon shields,
And this bugle bears me away with its noble alarms.

I am ecstatic and I am terrified to be chosen.
I am unworthy, but I know your clemency.
Oh, what effort, what ardor! And here am I

Filled with humble prayer, even though a great tumult
Blurs the hope that your voice revealed to me,
And I breathe in, trembling...


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2006 by Laura L. Nagle, (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: 2007-01-11
Line count: 14
Word count: 125