by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

La mer est plus belle
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER SPA
La mer est plus belle
Que les cathédrales,
Nourrice fidèle,
Berceuse de râles,
La mer qui prie
La Vierge Marie !

Elle a tous les dons
Terribles et doux.
J'entends ses pardons
Gronder ses courroux.
Cette immensité
N'a rien d'entêté.

O! si patiente,
Même quand méchante !
Un souffle ami hante
La vague, et nous chante :
« Vous sans espérance,
Mourez sans souffrance ! »

Et puis sous les cieux
Qui s'y rient plus clairs,
Elle a des airs bleus.
Roses, gris et verts...
Plus belle que tous,
Meilleure que nous !

About the headline (FAQ)


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):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , copyright © 2018
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Nele Gramß) , "Das Meer ist schöner", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Elisa Rapado) , 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: 24
Word count: 93

The sea is more lovely
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The sea is more lovely
Than the cathedrals,
A faithful nurse,
A lullaby of a death-rattle, 
The sea over which 
The Virgin Mary prays!

It has all the qualities, 
Terrible and sweet.  
I hear its pardons,
Grumbling its ire.
This immensity 
Has no obstinacy.

Oh! So patient, 
Even when dangerous! 
A friendly breath haunts 
The wave, and sings to us:
"You, without hope, 
Perish without suffering!"

And then, beneath the skies 
That mock it by being brighter,
It has the appearance of blue, 
Pink, grey, and green...
More lovely than everything, 
Better than we!

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2018 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-04-02
Line count: 24
Word count: 94