by Pierre-Félix Louis (1870 - 1925), as Pierre Louÿs
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER
Le premier me donna un collier,
un collier de perles qui vaut une ville,
avec les palais et les temples, 
et les trésors et les esclaves.

Le second fit pour moi des vers.
Il disait que mes cheveux sont noirs 
comme ceux de la nuit [sur la mer]1
et mes yeux bleus comme ceux du matin. 

Le troisième était si beau que sa mère
ne l'embrassait pas sans rougir.
Il mit ses mains sur mes genoux,
et ses lèvres sur mon pied nu.

Toi, tu ne m'as rien dit.
Tu ne m'as rien donné, car tu est pauvre.
Et tu n'est pas beau, mais c'est toi que j'aime.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Uddén.


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 (Bertram Kottmann) , "Song", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Lied", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 15
Word count: 108

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The first gave me a necklace,
a pearl necklace worth a city,
with palaces and temples,
and treasures and slaves.

The second wrote verses for me.
He said that my hair is black
like the night on the sea
and my blue eyes like the morning.

The third was so handsome that his mother
did not kiss him without blushing.
He put his hands on my lap,
and his lips on my bare foot.

You, you have not told me anything.
You've given me nothing, because you are poor.
And you are not handsome, but it is you that I love.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2013 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

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Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2013-05-15
Line count: 15
Word count: 101