Il est né, le divin enfant

I’m no big fan of 24/7 Christmas music that begins in October and pounds our senses until we want to flee from any public space. I do, however, enjoy many of the traditional Christmas carols. Now that Thanksgiving is past, I thought I’d share some of the beautiful French carols with you. The first is Il est né, le divin enfant (eel eh nay, luh deeveen ahnfahn), which means “He is born, the divine child.” The traditional song dates back to 1862 and a church organist in the Vosges mountains in eastern France.

Listen to it here sung by Roberto Alagna, the French tenor, along with a children’s choir. Here are the lyrics with my translation:

Chorus:
Il est né le divin enfant, (He is born, the divine infant)
Jouez hautbois, résonnez musettes ! (Play oboes, resound accordions !)
Il est né le divin enfant, (He is born, the divine infant,)
Chantons tous son avènement ! (Let’s all sing his advent !)

Depuis plus de quatre mille ans, (For more than 4000 years,)
Nous le promettaient les prophètes (The prophets promised him to us)
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans, (For more than 4000 years,)
Nous attendions cet heureux temps. (We’ve been waiting for this happy time.)
Chorus
Ah ! Qu’il est beau, qu’il est charmant ! (Oh ! He is so beautiful, he is so charming !)
Ah ! que ses grâces sont parfaites ! (Oh ! His grace is perfect !)
Ah ! Qu’il est beau, qu’il est charmant ! (Oh ! He is so beautiful, he is so charming !)
Qu’il est doux ce divin enfant ! (He is sweet, this divine child)
Chorus

Une étable est son logement (A stable was his lodging)
Un peu de paille est sa couchette, (A little straw was his cot)
Une étable est son logement (A stable was his lodging)
Pour un dieu quel abaissement ! (What humiliation for a God !)

Chorus

Partez, grands rois de l’Orient ! (Leave, great kings of the East !)
Venez vous unir à nos fêtes (Come unite at our festivities)
Partez, grands rois de l’Orient ! (Leave, great kings of the East !)
Venez adorer cet enfant ! (Come adore this child !)
Chorus

Il veut nos cœurs, il les attend : (He wants our hearts, he’s waiting for them :)
Il est là pour faire leur conquête (He is there to conquer them)
Il veut nos cœurs, il les attend : (He wants our hearts, he’s waiting for them :)
Donnons-les lui donc promptement ! (Let’s give them to him promptly then !)
Chorus

O Jésus ! O Roi tout-puissant (Oh Jesus ! Oh all powerful king)
Tout petit enfant que vous êtes, (Little child that you are)
O Jésus ! O Roi tout-puissant, (Oh Jesus ! Oh all powerful king,)
Régnez sur nous entièrement ! (Reign over us entirely !)
Chorus

All the art in today’s post if from the Louvre’s collection.

A French Christmas

 

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram at "Onequalitythefinest."
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5 Responses to Il est né, le divin enfant

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