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

Ô mes morts tristement nombreux
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ô mes morts tristement nombreux
Qui me faites un dôme ombreux
De paix, de prière et d'exemple,
Comme autrefois le Dieu vivant
Daigna vouloir qu'un humble enfant
Se sanctifiât dans le temple.

Ô mes morts penchés sur mon cœur.
Pitoyables à sa langueur,
Père, mère, âmes angéliques,
Et toi qui fus mieux qu'une sœur,
Et toi, jeune homme de douceur
Pour qui ces vers mélancoliques,

Et vous tous, la meilleure part
De mon âme, dont le départ
Flétrit mon heure la meilleure.
Ami que votre heure faucha,
Ô mes morts, voyez que déjà
Il se fait temps qu'aussi je meure.

Car plus rien sur terre qu'exil !
El pourquoi Dieu retire-t-il
Le pain lui-même de ma bouche,
Sinon pour me rejoindre à vous
Dans son sein redoutable et doux,
Loin de ce monde âpre et farouche.

Aplanissez-moi le chemin,
Venez me prendre par la main,
Soyez mes guides dans la gloire.
Ou bien plutôt, -- Seigneur vengeur ! --
Priez pour un pauvre pêcheur
Indigne encor du Purgatoire.

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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: "O my too very many dead", copyright © 2007, (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: 30
Word count: 166

O my too very many dead
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
O my too very many dead,
Who make me a shady dome
Of peace, prayer, and example,
Just as once the living God
Deigned to see that a humble child
Be blessed in his temple;

O my dead, pressed against my heart,
Pitiable in its languor:
Father, mother, angelic souls,
And you who were better than a sister,
And you, gentle young man
For whom these melancholy lines are written;

And all of you, the best part
Of my soul, whose departure
Darkened my finest hour,
Friends cut down in your prime,
O my dead, see that already
It is time for me, too, to die.

For I've nothing more on earth than exile!
And why should God take
The very bread from my lips,
If not to bring me back to you
In His soft and fearsome bosom,
Far from this harsh and savage world.

Smooth the way for me,
Come and take me by the hand,
Be my guides in glory,
Or rather -- vengeful Lord! --
Pray for a poor sinner
Still unworthy of purgatory.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 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: 2007-08-08
Line count: 30
Word count: 176