by Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
Translation © by David Wyatt

Pourquoy tournez vous vos yeux
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Pourquoy tournez vous vos yeux
De moy quand voulez m'occire ?
Comme si n'aviez pouvoir
Par me voir
D'un seul regard me destruire ?

Las ! vous le faites afin
Que ma fin
Ne me semblast bienheureuse,
Si j'allois en périssant
De votre œillade amoureuse.

Mais quoi ? Vous abusez fort.
Ceste mort,
Qui vous semble tant cruelle,
Me semble un gaing de bonheur
Pour l'honneur
De vous qui estes si belle.

J. Sweelinck sets stanza 1

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 (David Wyatt) , "Why turn away your eyes", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2010-02-03
Line count: 18
Word count: 74

Why turn away your eyes
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Why turn away your eyes,
My lady,
From me when you wish to kill me?
As if you had no power
In seeing me
To destroy me with a glance.

Alas, you do it so
That my end
Should not seem fortunate to me,
As I would die
From your loving look.

So what then? You very much misuse me.
This death
Which seems to you so cruel
To me seems winning happiness
For the honour
Of you who are so beautiful.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2012 by David Wyatt, (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: 2012-07-25
Line count: 18
Word count: 83