Noël nouvelet

Angels2

I’d never before heard the Christmas Carol Noël nouvelet before I started researching this post. I don’t think I’ll soon forget its haunting melody, however.  Nouvelet doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s related to the word nouvel, the form of the adjective nouveau (new) used in front of masculine words that begin with a vowel (nouveau livre versus nouvel arbre).

In English, the song is rendered as “Sing we now of Christmas,” but rather large liberties were taken with the original lyrics. The original version of the carol has thirteen verses and each recording I found uses different combinations of them. Here are the lyrics of the version of this beautiful 15th-century melody by The King’s College Singers of Cambridge University and my literal translation. All the paintings here are from the Louvre.

AngelsNoël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here,)

Devotes gens, crions a Dieu merci (Devout people, let’s shout thanks to God!)

Chantons Noël pour le Roi nouvelet (Let’s sing Christmas for the new King)

Noël nouvelet Noël chantons ici. (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here.)

 

D’un oisillon après le chant j’ouy  (A little bird after a cry of joy)

Qui aux pasteurs disait partez d’ici! (That to the shepherds said leave this place!)

En Bethléem trouverez l’angelet. (In Bethlehem you’ll find the little angel.)

Noël nouvelet Noël chantons ici. (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here.)

Angels3

En Bethlehem Marie et Josephis (In Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph)

L’âne et le boeuf, l’enfant couché parmi (The donkey, the cow, the child asleep among them)

La crèche était au lieu d’un bercelet (A manger was in place of a cradle)

Noël nouvelet Noël chantons ici. (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here.)

 

L’étoile y vis qui la nuit éclaircit (The star sees here who the night reveals)

Qui d’Orient où elle avait sorti. (Where it came from the East)

En Bethleem les trois Rois conduisait (To lead the three Kings to Bethlehem)

Noël nouvelet Noël chantons ici. (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here.)

 

L’un portant l’or, l’autre la myrrhe aussi (One carrying gold, the other the myrrh also)

L’autre l’encens qu’il faisait bon senti. (The other the incense that smelled good.)

Du paradis semblait le jardinet (The little garden seemed like paradise)

Noël nouvelet Noël chantons ici. (New Christmas, we sing Christmas here.)

51meFmxwbaL__SL75_Joyeux Noël: Learning Songs and Traditions in French

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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 @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to Noël nouvelet

  1. Pingback: Onomatopée | One quality, the finest.

  2. Pingback: Quelle est cette odeur agréable | One quality, the finest.

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