Above the roof the sky is fair

Le ciel est, par-dessus…

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme !
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu’on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l’arbre qu’on voit
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là,
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

– Qu’as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu’as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse ?

Paul Verlaine, Sagesse (1881)

Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) and Jérôme Ducros (piano) interpret Le ciel est par-dessus le toit de Dédodat de Séverac. Show recoreded on Sunday, 10 March 2019, 18h, at Studio 104 de la Maison de la Radio and presented by Clément Rochefort. © France Musique


Above the roof the sky is fair

Above the roof the sky is fair,
Blue, calm, serene.
A tree branch sways… The sky is fair,
Tranquil the scene.

A bell, in the sky, fills the air
With sweet content.
A bird, in that tree, fills the air
With sad lament.

My God, my God, out there… That’s where
Real life is found.
A simple town… And everywhere,
Is gentle sound.

‘What have you done, you, weeping there
Your endeless tears?
tell me, what have you done, you there,
With youth’s best years?’

Paul Verlaine, Sagesse (1881)

One hundred and one poems by Paul Verlaine, a bilingual edition
Translated by R. Shapiro. The University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 111


Paul Verlaine, ‘accursed poet’
Updated on 21 january 2021

Cookies settings

Cookies Selection

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, security, and its website performance. The Foundation may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.