by Paul Bourget (1852 - 1935)
Translation © by Peter Low

Partons en barque sur la mer
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Partons en barque sur la mer
Pour passer la nuit aux étoiles.
Vois, il souffle juste assez d'air
Pour [gonfler]1 la toile des voiles.

Le vieux pêcheur italien 
Et ses deux fils qui nous conduisent,
Écoutent, mais n'entendent rien
Aux mots que nos bouches se disent.

Sur la mer calme et sombre, vois : 
Nous [pouvons]2 échanger nos âmes,
Et nul ne comprendra nos voix
Que la nuit, le [ciel et les]3 lames.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Chausson: "enfler"
2 Widor: "pourrons"
3 Widor: "ciel, les"


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 (Peter Low) , "Italian serenade", copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-04-05 19:29:57
Line count: 12
Word count: 73

Italian serenade
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Let's go out in a boat on the sea
to spend the night under the stars.
Look, it's blowing just enough breeze
to swell the canvas of the sails.

The old Italian fisherman
and his two sons, who sail us out,
hear but understand nothing
of the words we say to each other.

On the calm dark sea, look!
we can exchange our souls,
and our voices will not be understood
except by the night, the sky and the waves.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2000 by Peter Low, (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


Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:22
Line count: 12
Word count: 80