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Translation © by Peter Low

La caravane humaine au Sahara du monde
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
La caravane humaine au Sahara du monde,
Par ce chemin des ans qui n'a [pas]1 de retour,
S'en va traînant le pied, brùlée aux feux du jour,
Et buvant sur ses bras la sueur qui l'inonde.

Le grand lion rugit et la tempète gronde:
À l'horizon fuyard, ni minaret, ni tour;
La seule ombre qu'on ait, c'est l'ombre du vautour,
Qui traverse le ciel, cherchant sa proie immonde.

L'on avance toujours, et voici que l'on voit
Quelque chose de vert que l'on se montre au doigt:
C'est un bois de cyprès, semé de blanches pierres.

Dieu, pour vous reposer, dans le désert du temps,
Comme des oasis a mis les cimetières:
Couchez-vous et dormez, voyageurs haletants!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Chausson: "plus"


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 (Peter Low) , no title, copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Gyula Vargha) , "A karaván"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 116

The human caravan in the Sahara of the...
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The human caravan in the Sahara of the world,
on this road of years where there is no returning,
plods on with dragging feet, burned by the heat of the day;
the people drink from their arms the sweat that drenches them.
The great lion roars and the tempest rumbles;
on the receding horizon there is no minaret or tower.
The only shadow to be had is that of the vulture
as it crosses the sky seeking its unclean prey.
They trudge always onward.  And now someone sees
something green and points it out with a finger!
It is a cypress grove with white stones planted in it.

God, to give you rest, in the desert of time
has placed, like oases, cemeteries.
Lie down and sleep, panting travellers!

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "La caravane" = "The caravan"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2000 by Peter Low, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 129