Today’s song is “Un Flambeau, Jeanette Isabella,” a typically dance-like carol from Renaissance Provençe. The tune is pretty, the words are charming, and so it makes a good transition into Christmas from Advent.

I’ve pretty much done that. We’re through with all the big music for Christmas now, I have skipped most of the parties I was invited to, the house is decorated, the shopping is done, the menus are decided and all but the perishable foods are ready. I have cleaning, cooking, and baking to do, but festive feelings are creeping up on me.

The song is charming in either language, and well suited both to complex harmonies and to happy solo singing around the house. The Baby in this song is clearly a real baby, and the sentiments are suited to babies, not to majestic messiah. This is not the One who has come to end hunger and injustice in the world — or, if people know that it is He, they are not expecting anything much till the baby has a chance to rest up and grow up. Mary, too.

English
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!
French
Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle —
Un flambeau! Courons au berceau!
C’est Jésus, bonnes gens du hameau.
Le Christ est né; Marie appelle!
Ah! Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle,
Ah! Ah! Ah! Que l’Enfant est beau!
Qui vient la, frappant de la porte?
Qui vient la, en frappant comme ça?
Ouvrez-donc, j’ai pose sur un plat
Des bons gateaux, qu’ici j’apporte
Toc! Toc! Toc! Ouvrons-nous la porte!
Toc! Toc! Toc! Faisons grand gala!
C’est un tort, quand l’Enfant sommeille,
C’est un tort de crier si fort.
Taisez-vous, l’un et l’autre, d’abord!
Au moindre bruit, Jésus s’éveille.
Chut! chut! chut! Il dort à merveille,
Chut! chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort!
Doucement, dans l’étable close,
Doucement, venez un moment!
Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant!
Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!
Do! Do! Do! Que l’Enfant repose!
Do! Do! Do! Qu’il rit en dormant! [2]

You can also sing these new words by Ken Bible if you don’t care for the idea of French villagers welcoming Jesus with cake:

Love has come, a light in the darkness!
Love explodes in the Bethlehem skies.
See, all heaven has come to proclaim it.
Hear how their song of joy arises:
Love! Love! Born unto you, a Savior!
Love! Love! Glory to God on high!

Love is born! Come share in the wonder.
Love is God now asleep in the hay.
See the glow in the eyes of His mother.
What is the name her heart is saying?
Love! Love! Love is the name she whispers.
Love! Love! Jesus, Immanuel.

Love has come, He never will leave us!
Love is life everlasting and free.
Love is Jesus within and among us.
Love is the peace our hearts are seeking.
Love! Love! Love is the gift of Christmas.
Love! Love! Praise to You, God on high!

So how was my week? I averaged more than 5,000 steps a day in spite of a day full of class and meetings and a day full of knitting and lolling about. I also got in 40 hours on the computer at only slightly lower than average productivity, in spite of all the meetings.

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