by Philippe Desportes (1545 - 1606)
Translation © by David Wyatt

Sur la mort de Diane
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Comme on voit parmi l'air un éclair radieux 
Glisser subtilement et se perdre en la nue, 
Cette âme heureuse et sainte, aux mortels inconnue,
Coula d'un jeune cœur pour s'envoler aux cieux. 

Mon penser la suivit, au défaut de mes yeux, 
Jusqu'aux voûtes du ciel tout clair de sa venue, 
Et voit qu'en tant de gloire où elle est retenue, 
Elle a deuil que je sois encore en ces bas lieux. 

Mais tu n'y seras guère, ô déesse ! à m'attendre,
Car je n'étais resté que pour cueillir ta cendre, 
Et ta mémoire sainte orner comme je dois ; 

Maintenant que j'ai fait ce devoir pitoyable, 
Las de pleurer, de vivre et d'être misérable, 
J'abandonne la terre et vole auprès de toi.


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: "On the death of Diana", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-06-02
Line count: 14
Word count: 122

On the death of Diana
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
As you might see in the sky a radiant burst of light
Slip away subtly or lose itself in a cloud,
So this fortunate holy soul, unknown to mortals,
Slipped from a young heart to fly to heaven.

My thoughts follow her, though my eyes cannot,
Right to the vault of heaven, bright and clear for her coming,
And see that, though she is kept in such glory,
She grieves that I am still in this lowly place.

But you will hardly need to wait for me there, my goddess,
For I had only stayed to collect up your ashes
And embellish your holy memory as I should;

Now that I've carried out this pitiful task,
Tired of weeping, of living, and of being wretched,
I abandon the earth and fly to be beside you.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2013 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: 2013-05-07
Line count: 14
Word count: 135