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Friday, December 23, 2011

CHRISTMAS CAROLS YOU DON'T KNOW - Il Est Ne De Divin Enfant

Through long ages of the past,
Prophets have foretold His coming

This final obscure Christmas Song comes to us from France, which has as rich and beautiful a Christmas heritage and tradition as England. Noel, the French term for Christmas has become so established in our language that it is an accepted alternate in America (and has 4 letters, making the offensive Xmas pointlessly insulting). Rural France is still a beautiful and pleasant place; its the cities that are often so obnoxious, just like in America.

The first place I ever heard this carol is on Annie Lennox's Christmas Cornucopia disc, which I highly recommend for her uniquely beautiful voice and the amazing arrangements of the various carols. She spins the song with a building excitement and wonder, assisted by the music and even though I can't understand much having only taken a year of French, it is captivating.

And when you read the full lyrics, it gets even better. Again, a simple song of the birth of Jesus, this carol bursts with praise and amazement over the earth-shattering moment in time when God walked among us.



Chorus:
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans,
Nous le promettaient les Prophetes;
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans,
Nous attendions cet heureux temps.

Chorus

Ah! qu'il est beau, qu'il est charmant,
Que ses graces sont parfaites!
Ah! qu'il est beau, qu'il est charmant,
Qu'il est doux le divin Enfant!

Chorus

Une etable est son logement,
Un peu de paille, sa couchette,
Une etable est son logement,
Pour un Dieu, quel abaissement!

Chorus

O Jesus! O Roi tout puissant!
Tout petit enfant que vous etes,
O Jesus! O Roi tout puissant!
Regnez sur nous entierement!

Chorus


English Translation:

Chorus:
He is born, the holy Child,
Play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!
He is born, the holy Child,
Sing we all of the Savior Mild.

Through long ages of the past,
Prophets have foretold His coming;
Through long ages of the past;
Now the time has come at last.

Chorus

O how lovely, O how pure,
Is the perfect Child of Heaven;
O how lovely, o how pure,
Gracious gift of God to man!

Chorus

Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Coming as a Child among us,
Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Grant to us Thy heav'nly peace.

Chorus

Well if you're French you probably know this carol, but the rest of us find it a wonderful discovery, and the music is so delightful its one that you hum along later and don't mind remembering, unlike so many modern carols.

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