Translation © by Andrew Schneider

Sur un album
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Elle était blanche, cette page, 
Mieux valait la laisser ainsi ; 
Du plus innocent griffonnage 
Son état vierge est obscurci.

Il valait mieux n'y rien écrire, 
Elle était blanche, et je pouvais 
Y voir seul pleurer ou sourire 
Les vers amis que je rêvais ;

Ces vers que vous dictiez vous-même 
Y miraient en paix leur fraîcheur, 
Et la page sous le poème 
Ne perdait rien de sa blancheur.

C'est une étrange fantaisie 
D'avoir voulu sur ce papier 
Crucifier la poésie 
Comme une fleur sur un herbier :

Elle n'est plus qu'une victime ; 
Il ne demeure sous vos yeux 
Plus rien de sa primeur intime, 
Tous les vers écrits sont si vieux !

Et vous voilà bien avancée ! 
Vous aurez eu pour tout régal, 
Au lieu d'un lis dans ma pensée, 
Dans votre album un madrigal.


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 (Andrew Schneider) , "Upon an album", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2015-06-24
Line count: 24
Word count: 138

Upon an album
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
It was blank, that page,
'twere better left that way;
its virginal state is obscured
by the most innocent scribbles.

It would have been far better
if nothing were ever written.
'Twas blank, and I alone could see
upon it (whether crying or smiling)
the friendly verses I had dreamed;

These verses you dictated personally
gazed intently there, even peacefully,
and the page under the poem 
lost nothing of its whiteness. 

A strange fantasy it is to have desired
upon this paper
to crucify poetry
like a fresh flower in an herbarium.

She is nothing more than a victim;
under your eyes, no more remains of
its former intimate foretaste;
all the written verses are so old!

And behold! You so advanced and developed!
You must have treats about you everywhere!
In place of a lily in my thoughts,
a madrigal in your album.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Andrew Schneider, (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: 2019-05-06
Line count: 25
Word count: 144