Translation © by Garrett Medlock

La libellule
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Près de l'étang, sur la prêle
Vole, agaçant le désir,
La Libellule au corps frêle
Qu'on voudrait en vain saisir.

Est-ce une chimère, un rêve
Que traverse un rayon d'or ?
Tout à coup elle fait trêve
À son lumineux essor.

Elle part, elle se pose,
Apparaît dans un éclair
Et fuit, dédaignant la rose
Pour le lotus froid et clair.

À la fois puissante et libre,
Sœur du vent, fille du ciel,
Son aile frissonne et vibre
Comme le luth d'Ariel.

Fugitive, transparente,
Faite d'azur et de nuit,
Elle semble une âme errante
Sur l'eau qui dans l'ombre luit.

Radieuse elle se joue
Sur les lotus entr'ouverts,
Comme un baiser sur la joue
De la Naïade aux yeux verts.

Que cherche-t-elle ? une proie.
Sa devise est: cruauté.
Le carnage met en joie
Son implacable beauté.


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Garrett Medlock) , "The dragonfly", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Johann Winkler

This text was added to the website: 2020-03-29
Line count: 28
Word count: 137

The dragonfly
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Near the pond, upon the horsetail
Flies, teasing desire,
The Dragonfly with the fragile body
Which one wishes in vain to catch.

Is it a chimera, a dream
Which traverses a ray of gold?
All of a sudden she takes a rest
In her light flight.

She goes away, she lands,
She appears in a flash
And flees, scorning the rose
For the lotus, cold and pale.

At once strong and free,
Sister of the wind, daughter of the sky,
Her wing shivers and quivers
Like Ariel’s lute.

Fleeting, transparent,
Fashioned of blue sky and night,
She looks like a stray soul
Upon the water which shines in the shadow.

Radiant, she plays
On the open lotuses
Like a kiss upon the cheek
Of the green-eyed naiad.

What is she searching for? A victim.
Her motto is: cruelty.
The carnage [turns] to joy
Her relentless beauty.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2020 by Garrett Medlock, (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: 2020-04-13
Line count: 28
Word count: 146