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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)
- by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896), no title, written 1880, appears in Sagesse, in Sagesse III, no. 15, Paris, Société générale de Librairie catholique, Éd. Victor Pamé, first published 1881 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Jacques Beers (1902 - 1947), "La mer est plus belle", published 1943 [ voice and piano ], from Six chants de Paul Verlaine, no. 2, Amsterdam [sung text not yet checked]
- by Nadia Boulanger (1887 - 1979), "La mer est plus belle", 1910, copyright © 1914 [ voice and piano ], Paris, Hamelle [sung text not yet checked]
- by Claude Achille Debussy (1862 - 1918), "La mer est plus belle", L. 85/(81) no. 1 (1891), published 1891 [ voice and piano ], from Trois mélodies, no. 1, Paris, Hamelle [sung text checked 1 time]
- by André Dulaurens (1873 - 1932), "La mer est plus belle" [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Louis Durey (1888 - 1979), "La mer est plus belle", op. 2 (Trois poèmes) no. 3 (1914) [ high voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Klaus Miehling , "La mer de Bournemouth", op. 85 no. 7 (2001), published 2002 [ eight-part chorus (SSAATTBB chorus) ], from Sieben Chansons zu acht Stimmen nach Texten von Paul Verlaine, no. 7, Goldbach [sung text not yet checked]
- by François-Joseph Sterck , "La mer est plus belle",  [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Théodore Terestchenko (b. 1888), "Les vagues", published  [ voice and piano ], from Quatre mélodies, no. 2, Paris, Hamelle [sung text not yet checked]
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 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 -- https://www.lieder.net/
For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.
- a text in French (Français) by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896), no title, written 1880, appears in Sagesse, in Sagesse III, no. 15, Paris, Société générale de Librairie catholique, Éd. Victor Pamé, first published 1881
This text was added to the website: 2018-04-02
Line count: 24
Word count: 94