Be Like a Bird

Words: Victor Hugo, loosely.

Music: Arthur Frackenpohl.

Parts: 2

Range: 12 half-steps

Difficulty: Medium.

Recordings elsewhere

Recorded by Libana: “Be Like a Bird,” on Fire Within.


Apparently the original Victor Hugo verse was as follows, according to James Wood’s 1899 Dictionary of Quotations:

Soyez comme l’oiseau, posé pour un instant

Sur des rameaux trop frêles,

Qui sent ployer la branche et qui chante pourtant,

Sachant qu’il a des ailes

Which was translated as:

Be as the bird perched for an instant on the too frail branch which she feels bending beneath, but sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.

I don’t know who wrote the English translation used in this song.

The Hugo verse was apparently only one part of a much longer poem, titled “Dans l’église de ***,” published in an 1835 book of Hugo’s verse titled Les Chants du crépuscule.