Translation © by Peter Low

Les papillons couleur de neige
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Les papillons couleur de neige
Volent par essaims sur la mer ;
Beaux papillons blancs, quand pourrai-je
Prendre le bleu chemin de l'air ?

Savez-vous, ô belle des belles,
Ma bayadère aux yeux de jais,
S'ils me [pouvaient]1 prêter leurs ailes,
Dites, savez-vous où j'irais ?

Sans prendre un seul baiser aux roses,
À travers vallons et forêts,
J'irais à vos lèvres mi-closes,
Fleur de mon âme, et j'y mourrais.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Note: this poem was titled "Pantoum" in L'Eldorado and Fortunio, and titled "Les papillons" in other editions.

1 in some settings, "voulaient"; we will add further information when we obtain it.

Authorship:

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 English, a translation possibly by Paul England (c1863 - c1932); composed by Percy Reeve.
  • Also set in English, a translation by H. D. Banning ; composed by Arturo Luzzatti.
  • Also set in English, a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Bainbridge Crist.
  • Also set in English, a translation by Theophile Marzials (1850 - 1920) ; composed by Arthur Goring Thomas.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Karl Vollheim , "Ein Wunsch" ; composed by Gustav Hasse.
  • Also set in Italian (Italiano), a translation by Giuseppe Zaffira (flourished 1868-1886) ; composed by Émile Pessard.
  • Also set in Italian (Italiano), a translation by Angelo Zanardini (1820 - 1893) ; composed by Ettore Perosio, Francesco Paolo Tosti.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Motýli"
  • ENG English (Peter Low) , no title, copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Amy Pfrimmer) , copyright © 2020, (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: 12
Word count: 70

The snow‑white butterflies
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The snow-white butterflies
fly in swarms over the sea.
Beautiful white butterflies, when can I
travel the blue path of the air?
 
Tell me, oh fairest of the fair,
my dancing-girl with the jet-black eyes -
if they were to lend me their wings,
do you know where I would fly?
 
Not taking one kiss from the roses,
I'd fly across valleys and forests
to alight on your half-closed lips (oh my soul's
chosen flower!) - and there I'd die.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Les papillons" = "The butterflies"

Authorship:

  • 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.
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Based on:

 

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 80