by William Blake (1757 - 1827)
Translation Singable translation © by Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov (1948 - 2020)

Little Fly
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE RUS
Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath
And the want 
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

About the headline (FAQ)


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Georg von der Vring (1889 - 1968) ; composed by Karl Habenicht.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La mouche", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Мотылёк", copyright ©, (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: 20
Word count: 69

Language: Russian (Русский)  after the English 
Взмах руки
И – кончен срок
Игры твоей,
О мотылёк!

Разве мой
Не краток век?
И разве ты
Не человек?

Песнь мою
И танец мой
Погубит взмах
Руки слепой.

Но если мысль
Есть жизнь и свет,
А смерть – лишь то,
В чём жизни нет –

Смерти срок
Пусть недалёк –
Счастлив я,
Как мотылёк.

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Note on Transliterations


Based on

Researcher for this text: Richard Shaw

This text was added to the website: 2008-01-17
Line count: 20
Word count: 55