by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Corinne Orde

Furieuse, les yeux caves et les seins...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Furieuse, les yeux caves et les seins roides,
Sapho, que la langueur de son désir irrite,
Comme une louve court le long des grèves froides,

Elle songe à Phaon, oublieuse [du Rite]1,
Et, voyant à ce point ses larmes dédaignées,
Arrache ses cheveux immenses par poignées ;

Puis elle évoque, en des remords sans accalmies,
Ces temps où rayonnait, pure, la jeune gloire
De ses amours chantées en vers que la mémoire
De l'âme va redire aux vierges endormies :

Et voilà qu'elle abat ses paupières blêmies
Et saute dans la mer où l'appelle la Moire, --
Tandis qu'au ciel éclate, incendiant l'eau noire,
La pâle Séléné qui venge les Amies.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Vierne: "des rites"


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 (Corinne Orde) , title 1: "Sapho", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Geoffrey Wieting

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-09-02 17:23:18
Line count: 14
Word count: 110

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Furious, with sunken eyes and taught breasts,
Sapho, irritated by her yearning desire,
Like a she-wolf, runs along the cold shores.

She dreams of Phaon, forgetful of convention,
And seeing her tears so far scorned,
Tears out her long hair by the fistful.

Then she calls to mind, in relentless remorse,
Those times when the young glory of her love shone forth purely
In sung verses that the soul's memory
Would relate to sleeping virgins.

And now she lowers her pallid eyelids
And leaps into the sea, where the Moira [i.e. fate] calls her,
While in the sky, setting fire to the black waters,
Pale Selene erupts to avenge lesbians.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2008 by Corinne Orde, (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: 2008-01-16 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:34
Line count: 14
Word count: 110