Okay, so I said I was signing off for the rest of the pre-Christmas season, but I think I’ll post some more uncommon Christmas songs and poems for the next few days, such as this dandy little French ditty. “Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella” (also spelled Isabelle in some copies) dates to 16th century France, and describes the village folk grabbing torches (flambeau) in the night to run and see the Christ child. This version is sung by Diane Taraz, and the English is below.
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabelle!
Bring a torch, to the stable run
Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village
Jesus is born and Mary’s calling.
Ah! Ah! beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child!
Who is that, knocking on the door?
Who is it, knocking like that?
Open up, we’ve arranged on a platter
Lovely cakes that we have brought here
Knock! Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!
Knock! Knock! Knock! Let’s celebrate!
It is wrong when the child is sleeping,
It is wrong to talk so loud.
Silence, now as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;
Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!
Softly now unto the stable,
Softly for a moment come!
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!
Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams!