by John Dryden (1631 - 1700)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Fairest Isle
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER SPA
Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasure and of love
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian grove.
Cupid from his fav'rite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love.

Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs that blow the fire of love
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Ev'ry swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful ev'ry nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown'd for love.


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) , "Plus belle des îles", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Schönstes Eiland", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Mercedes Vivas) , "La isla más hermosa", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Virginia Knight

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 87

Plus belle des îles
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Plus belle des îles, la plus belle de toutes,
Siège du plaisir et de l'amour ;
Vénus ici choisir sa demeure,
Et abandonnera son bosquet de Chypre.
Cupidon de sa nation favorite
Enlèvera le souci et l'envie ;
La jalousie qui empoisonne la passion,
Et le désespoir qui meurt pour l'amour.

Beaux murmures, douce complainte,
Soupirs qui soufflent sur le feu de l'amour ;
Doux refus, gentils dédains,
Seront toutes les peines que vous éprouverez.
Chaque soupirant paiera don dû,
Chaque nymphe se montrera reconnaissante ;
Et comme ils excellent en beauté,
Ceux-là seront renommés pour leur amour.


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2010 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: 2010-02-08
Line count: 16
Word count: 98