by Victor Marie Hugo (1802 - 1885)
Translation © by Peter Low

La pauvre fleur disait au papillon...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG ITA SPA
La pauvre fleur disait au papillon céleste :
- Ne fuis pas !
Vois comme nos destins sont différents. Je reste,
Tu t'en vas !

Pourtant nous nous aimons, nous vivons sans les hommes
Et loin d'eux,
Et nous nous ressemblons, et l'on dit que nous sommes
Fleurs tous deux !

Mais, hélas ! l'air t'emporte et la terre m'enchaîne.
Sort cruel !
Je voudrais embaumer ton vol de mon haleine
Dans le ciel !

Mais non, tu vas trop loin ! - Parmi des fleurs sans nombre
Vous fuyez,
Et moi je reste seule à voir tourner mon ombre
A mes pieds.

Tu fuis, puis tu reviens ; puis tu t'en vas encore
Luire ailleurs.
[Aussi]1 me trouves-tu toujours à chaque aurore
Toute en pleurs !

Oh ! pour que notre amour coule des jours fidèles,
Ô mon roi,
Prends comme moi racine, ou donne-moi des ailes
Comme à toi !

J. Massenet sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Cogni: "Ainsi"


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):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Marike Lindhout) , no title, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Peter Low) , no title, copyright © 2001, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Elena Mariani) , no title, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Mercedes Vivas) , no title, copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 152

The poor flower kept saying to the...
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
 The poor flower kept saying to the airborne butterfly:
 "Don't fly away!
 Our destinies are different: I stay put,
 you travel!
 Yet we love one another, we live without human beings,
 remote from them;
 and we resemble one another - some say that both of us
 are flowers.
"But alas! the breeze carries you off, while the earth ties me down
 - what a cruel fate!
 I would like my breath to perfume your flight
 in the sky!
 But no, you travel too far! Visiting countless flowers,
 you fly away,
 while I remain alone watching my shadow circle
 at my feet.
 "You go, then you come back, then you fly off again
 to shine elsewhere.
 So every morning you find me
 bathed in tears!
 Ah please, so that our love may glide along faithfully
 (oh my king!),
 take root like me - or else give me wings
 like you!"

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of the title "Le papillon et la fleur" = "The butterfly and the flower"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2001 by Peter Low, (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: 24
Word count: 150