by William Blake (1757 - 1827)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

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

La mouche
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Petite mouche,
Ton jeu d'été
Ma main étourdie
L'a balayé au loin.

Ne suis-je pas
Une mouche comme toi ?
Ou n'es-tu pas
Un homme comme moi ?

Car je danse
Et bois et chante :
Jusqu'à ce qu'une main aveugle
Balaie mon aile.

Si la pensée est la vie
Et la force et le souffle
Et le manque
De penser est la mort ;

Alors je suis
Une mouche heureuse,
Si je vis,
Ou si je meurs.


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2009 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: 2009-07-01
Line count: 20
Word count: 78