by Alfred Tennyson, Lord (1809 - 1892)
Translation © by Geart van der Meer

And in those days she made a little song
Language: English 
Available translation(s): DUT FRI
[And in those days she made a little song,
And called her song "The Song of Love and Death,"
And sang it: sweetly could she make and sing.]1

 Sweet is true love tho' giv'n in vain, in vain;
 And sweet is death that puts an end to pain:
 I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.

 Love, art thou sweet? then bitter death must be:
 Love, thou art bitter; sweet is death to me.
 O Love, if death [be]2 sweeter, let me die.

 Sweet love, that seems not made to fade away,
 Sweet death, that seems to make us loveless clay,
 I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.

 I fain would follow love, if that could be;
 I needs must follow death, who calls for me;
 Call and I follow, I follow! let me die.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Most of the settings use the song itself; Musical Settings of Early and Mid-Victorian Literature implies that Papini and Mrs. Phillips both use this stanza as well in their settings.
2 Walthew: "is"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRI Frisian (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Peter Brixius

Text added to the website: 2009-01-07 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:17
Line count: 15
Word count: 138

Language: Dutch (Nederlands)  after the English 


"De ware liefde' is zoet, al breekt ze 't hart,
En zoet de dood, die eindigt alle smart --
Ik weet niet wat het zoetste is voor mij.

Is zoet de liefde, bitter is de dood;
Is liefde bitter, zoet is dan de dood.
Als sterven zoeter is, de dood voor mij!

O zoete min, waarvan het vuur nooit dooft,
O zoete dood, die ons het leven rooft,
Ik weet niet wat het zoetste is voor mij.

Het liefst liep ik met liefde aan mijn zij;
Maar toch volg ik de dood, zijn stem lokt mij:
Roep en ik volg: het zoetst is sterven mij!"

About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from English to Dutch (Nederlands) copyright © 2013 by Geart van der Meer, (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


Text added to the website: 2013-04-23 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:10
Line count: 14
Word count: 106