by John Donne (1572 - 1631)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art summoned
By sicknesse, death's herald, and champion;
Thou art like a pilgrim,  which abroad hath done
Treason, and durst not turne to whence hee is fled,
Or like a thiefe, which till death's doome be read,
Wisheth himselfe deliver'd from prison;
But dam'd and hal'd to execution,
Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned.
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lacke;
But who shall give thee that grace to beginne?
Oh make thyselfe with holy mourning blacke,
And red with blushing, as thou are with sinne;
Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might
That being red, it dyes red soules to white.

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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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Daniel Johannsen) , 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: 14
Word count: 114

Oh, mon âme noire ! maintenant tu es...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Oh, mon âme noire ! maintenant tu es convoquée par
La maladie, le héraut et le champion de la mort ;
Tu es comme un pèlerin, qui à l'étranger a commis
Une trahison, et n'ose pas retourner d'où il a fui.
Ou comme un voleur, qui jusqu'à ce que le jugement de mort soit lu,
Souhaite lui-même être délivré de la prison ;
Mais condamné et traîné vers l'exécution
Souhaite être encore emprisonné.
Pourtant la grâce, si tu repens, tu ne peux pas la manquer ;
Mais qui te donnera cette grâce pour commencer ?
Oh fais-toi toi-même noir avec de saintes lamentations
Et rouge de honte, comme tu es avec tes péchés ;
Ou lave-toi dans le sang du Christ qui a ce pouvoir
Qu'étant rouge il change les âmes rouges en blanc.

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  • 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.

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This text was added to the website: 2011-07-05
Line count: 14
Word count: 134