Translation © by Peter Low

Fut‑il jamais douceur de cœur pareille
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Fut-il jamais douceur de cœur pareille
À voir Manon dans mes bras sommeiller ?
Son front coquet parfume l'oreiller ;
Dans son beau sein, j'entends son cœur qui veille.
Un songe passe, et s'en vient l'égayer.

Ainsi s'endort la fleur d'églantier
Dans son calice enfermant une abeille.
Moi, je la berce ; un plus charmant métier,
       Fut-il jamais ?

Mais le jour vient, et l'aurore vermeille
Effeuille au vent son [bouquet printanier]1.
Le peigne en main et la perle à l'oreille,
À son miroir Manon [court]2 m'oublier.
Hélas ! l'amour sans lendemain ni veille
       Fut-il jamais ?

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Alfred de Musset, Poésies nouvelles (1836-1852), Charpentier, 1857, page 210.

1 Debussy: "printemps virginal"
2 Debussy: "va"


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) , "Rondo: Was there ever such sweetness of heart", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Low [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2010-04-03
Line count: 15
Word count: 97

Rondo: Was there ever such sweetness of heart
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Was there ever such sweetness of heart
as seeing Manon in my arms sleeping?
Her coquettish brow perfumes the pillow;
in her beautiful breast I hear her heart still awake;
a dream passes and makes her cheerful.

This is how an eglantine flower sleeps
With a bee enclosed in its calyx.
I rock her. Was there ever a more charming task,
       was there ever?

But day comes, and the reddish Dawn
with its wind strips her virginal springtime.
With comb in hand and pearls in her earlobes
Manon at her mirror is going to forget me.
Alas! Was there ever love with no tomorrow or yesterday,
       was there ever?

Note: this is a translation of Debussy's version.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2010 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: 2010-04-03
Line count: 15
Word count: 109