by Émile Verhaeren (1855 - 1916)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Si morne!
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Se replier toujours sur soi-même, si morne!
Comme un drap lourd, qu'aucun dessin de fleur n'adorne.

Se replier, s'appesantir et se tasser
Et se toujours, en angles noirs et mats, casser.

Si morne! et se toujours interdire l'envie
De tailler en drapeaux l'étoffe de sa vie.

Tapir entre les plis ses mauvaises fureurs
Et ses rancœurs et ses douleurs et ses erreurs.

Ni les frissons soyeux, ni les moires fondantes
Mais les pointes en soi des épingles ardents.

Oh ! le paquet qu'on pousse ou qu'on jette à l'écart,
Si morne et lourd, sur un rayon, dans un bazar.

Déjà sentir la bouche âcre des moisissures
Gluer, et les taches s'étendre en leurs morsures.

Pourrir, immensément emmaillotté d'ennui ;
Être l'ennui qui se replie en de la nuit.

Tandis que lentement, dans les laines ourdies,
De part en part, mordent les vers des maladies.

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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 (Laura Prichard) , title 1: "So gloomy!", 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: 18
Word count: 144

So gloomy!
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
To always retreat within oneself, so gloomy!
Like a heavy cloth, unadorned by flowery prints.

To retreat, to get bogged down and to settle
And still, in dark and checkmated corners, to break.

So gloomy! and always to refrain from the desire
To cut into strips the fabric of one's life.

To hide between the folded pleats in terrible anger
And in resentment, with one's pains, and one's errors.

With neither silky shivers, nor melting moire,
But to pin oneself up with burning pins.

Oh! the package which you push or throw away,
So gloomy and heavy, in a section of a bazaar.

Already to taste one's mouth, acrid with mold
Gluing up, and stains spreading in their teeth.

To waste away, completely swaddled by ennui;
To be ennui itself that curls up in the night.

While slowly, in the warps of wool,
From one side to the other, the worms of illness chew their way.

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  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2013 by Laura Prichard, (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: 2013-06-09
Line count: 18
Word count: 156