by Stéphane Mallarmé (1842 - 1898)
Translation © by Stephen Jackson

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
À la fenêtre recélant
Le santal vieux qui se dédore
De la viole étincelant
Jadis [avec]1 flûte ou mandore

Est la sainte pâle, étalant
Le livre vieux qui se déplie
Du Magnificat ruisselant
Jadis selon vêpre [et]2 complie:

À ce vitrage d'ostensoir
Que frôle une harpe par l'Ange
Formée avec son vol du soir
Pour la délicate phalange

Du doigt que, sans le vieux santal
Ni le vieux livre, elle balance
Sur le plumage instrumental,
Musicienne du silence.

View original text (without footnotes)

First published in Les Poètes maudits, in "Lutèce", November 24-30, 1883, and later published in Poésies, Paris, Éd. de la Revue indépendante, 1887.

1 Ravel: "selon"
2 Ravel: "ou"


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 (Stephen Jackson) , "Sainte", 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: 16
Word count: 78

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
At the window concealing
the old sandalwood; its gilt slowly flaking away
of her viola sparkling
as of old with flute or mandola,

Is the  pale saint, spreading out
the old book that unfolds;
of the Magnificat streaming
as of old according to vesper and compline:

At this glazing of the monstrance
Which brushes the harp of the Angel
Formed with its flight of the evening;
For the delicate phalanx

Of the finger that, without the old sandalwood
Nor the old book, she holds balanced
On the instrumental plumage,
Musician of silence.

Translator's notes
Stanza 2, line 1 - "saint" - Saint Cecilia
Stanza 2, line 4 - "compline" - the final liturgical prayer of the day
Stanza 3, line 1 - "glazing" implies stained glass illuminated like monstrance
Stanza 3, line 1 - "monstrance" - the receptacle in which the host is held. (Roman Catholic)


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by Stephen Jackson, (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: 2007-10-10
Line count: 16
Word count: 92