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Ode à la Musique

Language: French (Français)

 Et Musique est une science
 Qui veut qu'on rie et chante et danse.
 Cure n'a de mélancolie
 Ni d'homme qui mélancolie
 À chose qui ne peut valoir,
 Ains met tels gens en non chaloir.
 Partout où elle est joie y porte,
 Les déconfortés réconforte
 Et n'est seulement de l'ouïr,
 Fait-elle les gens réjouir.

 N'instrument n'en a tout le monde
 Qui sur musique ne se fonde,
 Ni qui ait souffle ou touche ou corde
 Qui par musique ne s'accorde.
 Tous ses faits plus à point mesure
 Que ne fait nulle autre mesure.

 Elle fait toutes les caroles,
 Par bourgs, par cités, par écoles,
 Où l'on fait l'office divin
 Qui est fait de pain et de vin.
 Peut-on penser chose plus digne
 Ni faire plus gracieux signe
 Com d'exhausser Dieu et sa gloire,
 Louer, servir, aimer et croire,
 Et sa douce mère en chantant
 Qui de grâce et de bien a tant
 Que le ciel et toute la terre
 Et quanque les mondes enserrent,
 Grands, petits, moyens et menus,
 En sont gardés et soutenus.

 J'ai ouï dire que les anges,
 Les saints, les saintes, les archanges,
 De voix délie, saine et claire
 Louent en chantant Dieu le père
 Pour ce qu'en gloire les a mis
 Com justes et parfaits amis,
 Et pour ç'aussi que de sa grâce
 Le voient adès face à face.
 Or ne peuvent les saints chanter
 Qu'il n'ait musique en leur chanter:
 Donc est Musique en paradis.        

 David, le prophète, jadis
 Quand il voulait apaiser l'ire
 De Dieu, il accordait sa lire
 Dont il harpait si proprement
 Et chantait si dévotement
 Hymnes, psautiers et oraisons
 Ainsi comme nous le lisons,
 Que sa harpe à Dieu tant plaisait
 Et son chant qu'il se rapaisait.

 Orpheüs mit hors Eurydice
 D'enfer, La cointe, la faitice,
 Par sa harpe et par son doux chant.
 Ce poète dont je vous chant
 Harpait si très joliement
 Et si chantait si doucement
 Que les grands arbres s'abaissaient
 Et les rivières retournaient
 Pour li ouïr et écouter,
 Si qu'on doit croire sans douter
 Que ce sont miracles apertes
 Que Musique fait. C'est voir, certes.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Submitted by Ahmed E. Ismail


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , title 1: "Ode to music", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2004-05-06.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:05
Line count: 63
Word count: 349

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Ode to music

Language: English after the French (Français)

So Music is a science
That makes us laugh and sing and dance.
And a cure for melancholy
or for men who are melancholy
About something which has no worth,
But leaves them uncaring.
Everywhere it goes it brings joy;
The miserable are comforted
And just by hearing it,
It makes men rejoice.

No instrument in all the world
Is not founded upon music,
Nor that with wind or touch or string
Cannot play in consort.
All its deeds are of greater measure
Than any other measure.

It creates all the carols,
In towns, in cities, in schools,
Where one performs the office divine,
Which is offered with bread and wine.
Can one think of anything more fitting
Or make a more gracious offering
Than to exalt God and his glory,
To praise, to serve, to love, and to believe;
And his sweet mother, singing,
Who is so full of grace and good
That the heaven and all the earth
And whatsoever the worlds surround,
Great, small, average, and fine,
Are guarded and sustained by them.

I have heard it said that the angels,
All the saints, and the archangels,
In voices fine, strong, and clear
Praise in song God the father
For he in glory made them
Like true and perfect friends,
And that also through his grace
They may soon see  him face to face.
For the saints can only sing
When the music sings in them:
Thus is Music in paradise.

Once David, the prophet,
When he wanted to appease the ire
Of God, he consorted with his lyre,
Which he played so wondrously,
And sang so devotedly
Hymns, psalms, and prayers
Even as we read them,
That his harp and his song
So pleased God that he relented.

Orpheus led Eurydice,
The elegant and fine lady, out of Hades
With his harp and with his sweet song.
This poet about whom to you I sing
Played his harp so beautifully
And sang so sweetly
That the great trees lowered their branches
And the rivers changed their course
To hear him and listen.
So one must believe without doubting
That these are apparent miracles
That Music has made. It's certainly true.

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  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in French (Français) by Guillaume de Machaut (c1300 - 1377), first published c1372
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Frank Martin. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2004-05-06.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:05
Line count: 63
Word count: 365