The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility. It seems likely that the melody was written by Charpentier. (source)
(French folk song)
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!
Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle
Lyrics - 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!
English Translation - A torch, Jeanette, Isabelle
A torch! Let’s run to the cradle!
It’s Jesus, good people of the hamlet.
Christ is born; Mary is calling!
Ah! Ah! Ah! How beautiful is the Mother,
Ah! Ah! Ah! How beautiful is the Child!
Who comes there, knocking on the door?
Who comes there, hitting like that?
Open it up, I put it on a dish
Good cakes, which I bring here
Knock! Knock! Knock! Let’s open the door!
Knock! Knock! Knock! Let’s have a big gala!
It is wrong when the Child sleeps,
It is a mistake to shout so loudly.
Shut up, both of you, first!
At the slightest sound, Jesus wakes up.
Hush! hush! hush! He sleeps wonderfully
Hush! hush! hush! See how he sleeps!
Gently, in the closed stable,
Take it easy, come a moment!
Approach! How charming Jesus is!
How white he is! How pink it is!
Do! Do! Do! May the child rest!
Do! Do! Do! He laughs while sleeping!
Extras for Plus Members
- Song with chords (PDF)
- MIDI file
- Listen to the song