by James Joyce (1882 - 1941)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.

A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight [kisses]1 her young brow
And, gathering she sings an air:
[Fair as the wave is, fair art thou!]2

Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon,
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Poetry, May 1917
An inscription reads: "O bella bionda!/ Sei come l'onda!"
1 in some editions, "touches"
2 Bliss: "O bella bionda! Sei come l'onda!" (the inscription)


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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Simples", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (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: 12
Word count: 79

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
De rosée froide et légère et de rayonnement doux
La lune tisse une toile de silence
Dans le jardin tranquille où une enfant
Cueille les simples feuilles de salade.

Une rosée de lune étoile sa chevelure pendante
Et la lumière de la lune baise son jeune front
Et, tout en cueillant, elle chante un air :
Blond comme la vague, blond, tu es !

Sois à moi, je t'en prie, oreille de cire,
Pour me protéger de son chant enfantin
Et à moi un cœur protégé contre elle
Qui cueille les simples de la lune.


  • 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: 2009-11-09
Line count: 12
Word count: 95