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by Charles Gounod (1818 - 1893)
Translation © by Faith J. Cormier

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ô silence des nuits dont la voix seule est douce,
Quand je n'ai plus sa voix,
Mystérieux rayons, qui glissez sur la mousse
Dans l'ombre de ses bois,

Dites-moi si ses yeux, à l'heure où tout sommeille
Se rouvrent doucement
Et si ma bien-aimée, alors quemoi je veille,
Se souvient de l'absent.

Quand la lune est aux cieux, baignant de sa lumière
Les grands bois et l'azur;
Quand des cloches du soir qui tintent la prière
Vibre l'écho si pur,

Dites-moi si son âme, un instant recueillie,
S'élève avec leur chant,
Et si de leurs accords la paisible harmonie
Lui rappelle l'absent!


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):

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , title 1: "The absent one", copyright © 2003, (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: 16
Word count: 102

The absent one
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Silence of the night, whose voice alone is sweet, 
when I no longer hear her voice,
Mysterious rays, gliding over the moss 
in the shadow of the woods, 

tell me if her eyes, when all else sleeps, 
open softly 
and if my beloved, while I watch, 
remembers the absent one. 

When the moon is in the heavens, bathing with her light 
the woods and the blue,
when the evening bells' call to prayer 
vibrates the pure echo, 

tell me if her soul, withdrawn a moment, 
rises up with their song, 
and whether their chords of peaceful harmony 
remind her of the absent one!


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 by Faith J. Cormier, (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: 16
Word count: 103