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

Les roses étaient toutes rouges
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG GER
Les roses étaient toutes rouges
Et les lierres étaient tout noirs.

Chère, pour peu que tu te bouges
Renaissent tous mes désespoirs.

Le ciel était [trop bleu, trop tendre,]1
La mer trop [verte et l'air trop doux.]2

Je crains toujours, -- ce qu'est d'attendre
Quelque fuite atroce de vous.

Du houx à la feuille vernie
Et du luisant buis je suis las,

Et de la campagne infinie
Et de tout, fors de vous, hélas !

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Phaneuf (Dela): "si bleu, si tendre"
2 Phaneuf (Dela): "verte, l'air si doux!"


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:

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) [singable] (Núria Colomer) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Corinne Orde) , "Spleen", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-10-20
Line count: 12
Word count: 74

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The roses were all red
And the ivy was all black.

Dear, it only needs one move from you
For all my despairs to reawaken.

The sky was too blue, too tender,
The sea too green and the air too mild.

I fear all the time, ever waiting,
Some terrible flight from you.

Of the holly with its varnished leaf
And of the shining boxwood I am weary

And of the never-ending countryside,
And of everything, except you. Alas!


  • 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:


This text was added to the website: 2008-01-21
Line count: 12
Word count: 79