by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Shy one, shy one
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE IRI
Shy one, shy one, 
  Shy one of my heart,
She moves in the firelight
  Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,
  And lays them in a row.
To an isle in the water
  With her would I go.

She carries in the candles,
  And lights the curtained room,
Shy in the doorway
  And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,
  Helpful and shy. 
To an isle in the water,
  With her [would I]1 fly.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Yeats, William Butler. The Wanderings of Oisin: Dramatic Sketches, Ballads & Lyrics, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1892, page 135.

1 Clarke: "I would"


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) , "Vers une île au milieu de l'eau", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2016, (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: 76

Vers une île au milieu de l'eau
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Timide, timide,
Timide de mon cœur,
Elle se déplace dans la lumière du feu
Dans ses pensées, à part.

Elle apporte les plats
Et les aligne.
Vers une île dans l'eau
Avec elle je voudrais aller.

Elle apporte les bougies,
Et éclaire la pièce garnie de rideaux,
Timide dans l'embrasure de la porte
Et timide dans l'obscurité.

Et timide comme un lapin,
Serviable et timide,
Vers une île au milieu de l'eau
Avec elle je voudrais m'envoler.


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2011 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: 2011-01-26
Line count: 16
Word count: 77