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

A Prayer
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Come, give, yield all your strength to me!
From far a low word breathes on the breaking brain
Its cruel calm, submission's misery,
Gentling her awe as to a soul predestined.
Cease, silent love! My doom!

Blind me with your dark nearness, O have mercy, beloved enemy of my will!
I dare not withstand the cold touch that I dread.
Draw from me still
My slow life! Bend deeper on me, threatening head,
Proud by my downfall, remembering, pitying
Him who is, him who was!

Together, folded by the night, they lay on earth. I hear
From far her low word breathe on my breaking brain.
Come! I yield. Bend deeper upon me! I am here.
Subduer, do not leave me! Only joy, only anguish,
Take me, save me, soothe me, O spare me!


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: "Une prière", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller

This text was added to the website: 2005-01-13
Line count: 18
Word count: 136

Une prière
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Encore !
Viens, donne, abandonne-moi toute ta force !
De loin un mot tout bas souffle sur le cerveau brisé
Son calme cruel, la misère de la soumission
Adoucissant son effroi comme pour une âme prédestinée.
Cesse, amour silencieux ! Ma ruine !

Aveugle-moi de ta proximité sombre, oh ! aie pitié , ennemie bien-aimée de mon vouloir !
Je n'ose pas résister au toucher froid que j'appréhende.
Tire de moi encore
Ma lente vie ! Penche-toi davantage sur moi, tête menaçante,
Fière de ma chute, te souvenant, ayant pitié
De celui qui est, ce celui qui fut !

Encore !
Ensemble, entourés par la nuit, ils gisaient à terre. J'entends
De loin son mot à voix basse souffler sur mon cerveau brisé.
Viens ! Je cède. Penche-toi davantage sur moi ! Je suis ici.
Victorieuse, ne me quitte pas ! Seule joie, seule anxiété,
Prends-moi, sauve-moi, calme-moi, oh ! épargne-moi !


  • 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: 18
Word count: 152