by Stéphane Mallarmé (1842 - 1898)
Translation © by Laura Claycomb, Peter Grunberg

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT CHI ENG GER
La lune s'attristait. Des séraphins en pleurs
Rêvant, l'archet aux doigts, dans le calme des fleurs
Vaporeuses, tiraient de mourantes violes
De blancs sanglots glissant sur l'azur des corolles.
-- C'était le jour béni de ton premier baiser.
Ma songerie aimant à me martyriser
S'enivrait savamment du parfum [de tristesse]1
Que même sans regret et sans déboire laisse
La cueillaison d'un Rêve au cœur qui l'a cueilli.
J'errais donc, l'œil rivé sur le pavé vieilli
Quand avec du soleil aux cheveux, dans la rue
Et dans le soir, tu m'es en riant apparue
Et j'ai cru voir la fée au chapeau de clarté
Qui jadis sur mes beaux sommeils d'enfant gâté
Passait, laissant toujours de ses mains mal fermées
Neiger de blancs bouquets d'étoiles parfumées.

View original text (without footnotes)

First published in the revue Lutèce, November 24-30, 1883.

1 K. Sorabji: "de la tristesse"


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) [singable] (Núria Colomer) , "Aparició", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "幻影", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Claycomb) (Peter Grunberg) , "Apparition", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "Apparition", written 2002, first published 2002, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "Apparition", written c2005, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Richard von Schaukal) , "Erscheinung"
  • POL Polish (Polski) (Bronisława Ostrowska) , "Zjawa", Kraków, J. Mortkowicz, first published 1911

Research team for this text: Auditorium du Louvre , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 124

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The moon was saddened. Seraphims in tears
dreaming, bows at their fingers, in the calm of filmy flowers
Threw dying violas of white sobs 
sliding over the blue of corollas.
It was the blessed day of your first kiss;
My reverie, loving to torture me, 
wisely imbibed its perfume of sadness
That even without regret and without setback
leaves the gathering of a dream within the heart that gathered it.
I wandered then, my eye riveted on the aged cobblestones.
When, with light in your hair, in the street
and in the evening, you appeared to me smiling
and I thought I had seen the fairy with a hat of light
who passed in my sweet dreams as a spoiled child,
always dropping from her carelessly closed hand
a snow of white bouquets of perfumed stars.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by Laura Claycomb and Peter Grunberg, (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: 2007-10-25
Line count: 16
Word count: 136