Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront

”Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront” ("When the spring comes round again") is a song for solo soprano, part of a staged recitation with orchestra Une voix dans le désert written by the English composer Edward Elgar in 1915. The words are by the Belgian poet Émile Cammaerts'''.

It was first performed in a performance of Une voix dans le désert at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on January 29th, 1916, sung by the soprano Olga Lynn, with the recitation by the Belgian dramatic performer Carlo Liten, and the orchestra conducted by the composer.

The French title "Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront" literally translates into "When our buds shall re-open", but in the English version of the lyrics, by Cammaerts' wife Tita Brand, it became "When the spring comes round again".

The song was published separately by Elkin & Co. in 1916, inscribed "English version by R. H. Elkin". The words are the same as in the vocal score of Une voix dans le désert, so it is not clear whether the English translation of the song is by Tita Brand or by Elkin.

The Pall Mall Gazette described the scene on the wartime front in West Flanders, Belgium:



Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront,
Saules rouges at gris chatons
Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront,
Nos vaches meugleront.
Elles sonneront du cor
Coqs rouges et fumiers d'or
Elles sonneront si fort,
Qu'elles réveilleront les morts.

Frapperont nos marteaux,
Bras nus et torses chauds
Et ronfleront nos scies,
Autour de nos prairies.
S'ouvriront nos églises,
Nieuport, Ypres et Pervyse,
Et tonneront nos cloches
Le dur tocsin des Boches.
Tinteront nos truelles
Dixmude et Ramscapelle
Et reluiront nos pelles
Et cogneront nos pioches.

Gliseront nos bateaux,
Goudron noir et mouette
Chantera l'alouette
Le long de nos canaux,
Et fleuriront nos tombes
Mésanges et pigeons bleus
Et fleuriront nos tombes,
Sous le soleil de Dieu.

English translation

When the spring comes round again,
Willows red and tassels grey
When the spring comes round again,
Our cows will greet the day,
They'll sound their horn triumphant,
White sap and greening spear
Sound it so loud and long,
Until the dead once more shall hear.

We shall hear our anvils,
Strong arm and naked breast
And in our peaceful meadows,
The scythe will never rest.
Ev'ry church will ope its door,
Antwerp, Ypres and Nieuport,
The bells will then be ringing,
The foe's death knell be ringing.
The shall sound spade and shovel,
Dixmude and Ramscapelle
And gaily gleam the trowel,
While through the air the pick is swinging.

From the ports our boats will glide.
Anchor up and mooring slipt
The lark on high will be soaring
Above our rivers wide.
And then our graves will flower,
Heart'sease and golden rod
And then our graves will flower
Beneath the peace of God.


  • Kennedy, Michael, Portrait of Elgar (Oxford University Press, 1968) ISBN 0193154145
  • Moore, Jerrold N. “Edward Elgar: a creative life” (Oxford University Press, 1984) ISBN 0193154471


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