by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Nature, the gentlest mother
Language: English 
Available translation(s): CAT FRE GER ITA
Nature, the gentlest mother
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, -
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, -
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky,

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

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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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Nature, mère la plus gentille", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , title 1: "Natura, la mare més gentil", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 105

Nature, mère la plus gentille
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Nature, mère la plus gentille
Impatiente avec aucun enfant
Le plus faible ou le plus rétif
Modérée dans ses reproches

Dans la forêt et la colline
Le voyageur l'entend
Retenant l'écureuil exubérant
Ou l'oiseau trop impétueux.

Comme sa conversation est belle
Un après-midi d'été
Sa demeure, ses proches
Et quand le soleil se couche

Sa voix parmi les allées
Invite à la prière timide
Le plus petit grillon
Et la moindre fleur

Quand tous les enfants dorment
Elle s'éloigne juste le temps
Qu'il faut pour allumer ses lampes
Puis, se penchant depuis le ciel

Avec une affection infinie
Et un soin plus infini
Son doigt d'or sur ses lèvres
Elle demande le silence partout.


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2008 by Guy Laffaille, (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: 2008-11-09
Line count: 24
Word count: 114