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

Ah longues nuicts d'hyver
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ah longues nuicts d'hyver, de ma vie bourrelles,
Donnez moy patience, et me laissez dormir,
Vostre nom seulement et suer et fremir
Me fait par tout le corps, tant vous m'estes cruelles.

Le sommeil tant soit peu n'esvante de ses ailes
Mes yeux tousjours ouvers, et ne puis affermir
Paupiere sur paupiere, et ne fais que gemir,
Souffrant comme Ixion des peines eternelles.

Vielle [umbre]1 de la terre, ainçois l'umbre d'enfer,
Tu m'as ouvert les yeux d'une chaisne de fer,
Me consumant au lict, navré de mille pointes:

Pour chasser mes douleurs ameine moy la mort:
Ha mort, le port commun, des hommes le confort,
Viens enterrer mes maux, je t'en prie a mains jointes.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Hawley: "ombre", passim.


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) , "Oh the long nights of winter", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2010-10-28
Line count: 14
Word count: 115

Oh the long nights of winter
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Oh the long nights of winter, executioners of my life!
Give me patience and let me sleep;
Your name alone makes my whole body
Sweat and shiver, so cruel are you to me.

Sleep, little as it is, cannot make my eyes
Droop with his wings; they are always open, and I cannot close
Eyelid on eyelid, can do nothing but groan,
Suffering, like Ixion, eternal torments.

Old ghost of the earth, and likewise ghost of hell,
You have kept my eyes open with a fiery chain
Wearing me out in my bed, deeply wounded by a thousand pricks:

To chase away my sadness, bring me death --
Ah, death, the common haven, the comfort of men, 
Come and bury my ills, I beg you with clasped hands.


  • 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: 2012-07-26
Line count: 14
Word count: 127