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

Oh, to vex me
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
Oh, to vex me, contraryes meet in one:
In constancy unnaturally hath begott
A constant habit; that when I would not
I change in vowes, and in devotione.
As humorous is my contritione
As my profane Love and as soone forgott:
As ridlingly distemper'd, cold and hott,
As praying, as mute; as infinite, as none.
I durst not view Heav'n yesterday; and today
In prayers, and flatt'ring speeches I court God:
Tomorrow I quake with true feare of his rod.
So my devout fitts come and go away,
Like a fantastique Ague: save that here
Those are my best dayes, when I shake with feare.


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) , "Oh, pour me contrarier", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Daniel Johannsen) , "Ach, um mich zu plagen", 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: 105

Oh, pour me contrarier
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Oh, pour me contrarier, des contraires se rencontrent :
Dans la constance, anormalement a produit
Une habitude constante ; que quand je ne voudrais pas
Je change en serments, et en dévotions.
Aussi amusante est ma contrition
Que mon amour profane et aussi vite oubliée :
Aussi énigmatiquement de mauvaise humeur, froid et chaud,
Aussi en prières que muet : aussi infini que nul.
Je n'osais pas voir le ciel hier : et aujourd'hui
En prières, et en paroles flatteuses je courtise Dieu :
Demain je tremble avec une vraie peur de sa baguette.
Ainsi mes accès de piété vont et viennent,
Comme une fièvre vertigineuse : sauvez ce qui ici
Forment mes meilleurs jours, quand je tremble de peur.


  • 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: 2011-07-05
Line count: 14
Word count: 120