Category Archives: Hector Berlioz

Gautier: The Ghost of the Rose

By Théophile Gautier (1811-1872)

Le spectre de la rose

Set by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), op. 7 no. 2, from Les Nuits d’Été, no. 2. Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust, from The Lied & Art Song Texts Page,

Open your closed eyelid
Which is gently brushed by a virginal dream!
I am the ghost of the rose
That you wore last night at the ball.
You took me when I was still sprinkled with pearls
Of silvery tears from the watering-can,
And, among the sparkling festivities,
You carried me the entire night.

O you, who caused my death:
Without the power to chase it away,
You will be visited every night by my ghost,
Which will dance at your bedside.
But fear nothing; I demand
Neither Mass nor De Profundis;
This mild perfume is my soul,
And I've come from Paradise.

My destiny is worthy of envy;
And to have a fate so fine,
More than one would give his life
For on your breast I have my tomb,
And on the alabaster where I rest,
A poet with a kiss
Wrote: "Here lies a rose,
Of which all kings may be jealous."
Théophile Gautier

by Auguste de Châtillon, 1839.