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

I felt a funeral in my brain
Language: English 
Available translation(s): CAT FRE GER GER ITA
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of [lead]1.
Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.

And then a plank in reason, broke,
And I dropped down and down --
And hit a world at every plunge,
And finished knowing -- then --

A. Copland sets stanzas 1-4

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Copland: "lead, again"


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: "J'ai senti un enterrement dans ma tête", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , title 1: "Vaig sentir un funeral al meu cap", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:26
Line count: 20
Word count: 115

J'ai senti un enterrement dans ma tête
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
J'ai senti un enterrement dans ma tête
Et les amis du défunt allaient et venaient
Continuaient à marcher, jusqu'à ce qu'il me semble
Que ma raison s'en allait.

Et quand ils s'étaient tous assis
Un office comme un tambour
Continuer de battre, de battre jusqu'à ce que je pense
Que mon esprit devenait paralysé.

Et puis je les ai entendus soulever une boîte
Et traverser mon âme en grinçant
Avec encore ces mêmes bottes de plomb
Puis l'espace a sonné le glas

Comme si tous les cieux étaient un cloche
Et l'existence n'était qu'une oreille
Et moi et le silence une étrange race
Échouée solitaire ici.

Et puis une planche dans ma raison se brisa
Et je tombai, tombai --
Et heurtai un monde, à chaque plongée,
Et finis d'être consciente -- alors --


  • 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


Text added to the website: 2008-11-09 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:00
Line count: 20
Word count: 131