by Francis Ledwidge (1891 - 1917)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

The sheep are coming home in Greece
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
The sheep are coming home in Greece,
Hark the bells on every hill!
Flock by flock, and fleece by fleece,
Wandering wide a little piece
Thro' the evening red and still,
Stopping where the pathways cease,
Cropping with a hurried will.

Thro' the cotton bushes low
Merry boys with shouldered crooks
Close them in a single row,
Shout among them as they go
With one bell-ring o'er the brooks.
Such delight you never know
Reading it from gilded books.

Before the early stars are bright
Cormorants and sea-gulls call,
And the moon comes large and white
Filling with a lovely light
The ferny curtained waterfall.
Then sleep wraps every bell up tight
And the climbing moon grows small.

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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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Le retour des moutons", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2010-04-17
Line count: 21
Word count: 118

Le retour des moutons
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Les moutons rentrent à la maison en Grèce,
Écoute les cloches sur chaque colline !
Troupeau après troupeau, et toison après toison,
Errant au loin un petit morceau
Dans le crépuscule rouge et tranquille,
S'arrêtant où cessent les chemins,
Broutant précipitamment.

À travers les buissons bas de coton
Des garçons joyeux avec des houlettes à l'épaule
Les mettent en une seule rangée,
Crient au milieu d'eux quand ils vont
Avec un tintement de cloche au-dessus des ruisseaux.
Ces plaisirs vous ne les connaitrez jamais
En lisant des livres dorés.

Avant que les premières étoiles ne brillent
Les cormorans et les mouettes lancent leur appel,
Et la lune arrive large et blanche
Remplissant d'une jolie lumière
La cascade aux rideaux de fougères.
Puis, le sommeil enveloppe soigneusement chaque cloche
Et la lune en montant devient plus petite.


  • 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: 2011-06-25
Line count: 21
Word count: 136