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