Translating Victor Hugo “Nuits de juin”

As summer quickly approaches, enjoy a lovely poem by Victor Hugo of these magnificent lazy days of respite!


van gogh starry night

Starry Night by Van Gogh, MET NY

Nuits de juin

L’été, lorsque le jour a fui, de fleurs couverte
La plaine verse au loin un parfume enivrant ;
Les yeux fermés, l’oreille aux rumeurs entr’ouverte,
On ne dort qu’à demi d’un sommeil transparent.

Les astres plus purs, l’ombre paraît meilleure ;
Un vague demi-jour teint le dôme éternel ;
Et l’aube douce et pâle, en attendant son heure,
Semble toute la nuit errer au bas du ciel.

28 Septembre 1837.

d'ors van gogh 3

Mademoiselle Gachet in her garden at Auvers-sur-Oise, D’Orsay


My Translation:

Nights in June

Summer, when the day swiftly passes,
The distant meadow, surrounded by flowers
Covered in fragrance;
Eyes closed, the ear half-open to murmurs,
One sleeps only  in a half lucid state.

The stars are clearer, the shadows darker;
A vague half-lit day in an eternal dome;
And the soft and pale dawn, waiting for his hour,
Seems to roam all night under the base of the sky.

Copyright 2016 by Robyn Lowrie. May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (

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