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

L'amour oyseau
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Un enfant dedans un bocage
Tendait finement ses gluaux,
Afin de prendre des oiseaux
Pour les emprisonner en cage,

Quand il vit, par cas d'aventure,
Sur un arbre amour emplumé,
Qui volait, par le bois ramé,
Sur l'une ou l'autre verdure.

L'enfant qui ne connaissait pas
Cet oiseau fut si plein de joie,
Que pour prendre une si grand-proie
Tendit sur l'arbre tous ses lacs.

Mais quand il vit qu'il ne pouvait
Pour quelques gluaux qu'il pût [tendre]1,
Ce cauteleux oiseau surprendre,
Qui voletant, le décevait,

Il se prit à se mutiner
Et, jetant sa glu de colère,
Vint trouver une vieille mère
Qui se mêlait de deviner.

Il lui va le fait avouer,
Et sur le haut d'un buis lui montre
L'oiseau de mauvaise rencontre,
Qui ne faisait que se jouer.

La vieille en branlant ses cheveux.
Qui jà grisonnaient de vieillesse,
Lui dit: "Cesse mon enfant, cesse,
Si bientôt mourir tu ne veux,

De prendre ce fier animal.
Cet oiseau, c'est Amour qui vole,
Qui toujours les hommes affole
Et jamais ne fait que du mal.

Ô que tu seras heureux
Si tu le fuis toute ta vie,
Et si jamais tu n'as envie
D'être au rôle des amoureux!

Mais j'ai grand doute qu'à l'instant
Que d'homme parfait auras l'âge,
Ce malheureux oiseau volage,
Qui par ces arbres te fuit tant,

Sans y penser te surprendra,
Comme une jeune et tendre quête,
Et, foulant de ses pieds ta tête,
Que c'est que d'aimer t'apprendra."

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Saint-Saëns: "prendre"

Authorship:

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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , title 1: "Love as a bird", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-09-18
Line count: 44
Word count: 246

Love as a bird
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
A child in a bush
Was holding his limed twigs carefully
In order to catch birds
And imprison them in a cage,

When he saw, just by chance,
Winged Love on a tree,
Who was flying through the branches of the wood
To one greensward or another.

The child, who did not recognise
This bird, was so full of joy
That to catch so fine a prey 
He set all his traps on the tree.

But when he saw that he could not,
However many limed twigs he set1, 
Surprise this cunning bird
Who kept flying around and disappointing him,

He gave up angrily
And throwing away his glue in anger
Found himself facing an old dame
Who was mixed up in fortune-telling.

He swore the truth of his story
And on the top of a bush showed her
The bird he'd had the trouble with
Who was still doing nothing but play around.

The old lady, shaking her hair
Which was already greying with age,
Said to him: "stop, my child, stop;
You don't want to die so soon,

By catching that proud beast.
That bird is Love, who flies about
Bewildering men always
And never doing anything but harm.

O how lucky you will be
If you escape him all your life
And if you never wish
To play the part of a lover!

But I very much fear that the very moment 
You have reached the age of manhood,
This inconstant bird of bad luck,
Which now flies away from you among these trees,

Will surprise you unthinking
Like a young and tender victim,
And trampling your head under his feet
Will teach you just what it is to love!"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Saint-Saëns: 'used'

Authorship:

  • 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.
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This text was added to the website: 2012-07-26
Line count: 44
Word count: 283