by Robert Southwell (1561? - 1595)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

This little babe
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): FRE
This little Babe so few days old 
is come to rifle Satan's fold;
all hell doth at his presence quake 
though he himself for cold do shake;
for in this weak unarmèd wise 
the gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field, 
his naked breast stands for a shield;
his battering shot are babish cries, 
his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
his martial ensigns Cold and Need 
and feeble Flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall, 
his bulwark but a broken wall;
the crib his trench, haystacks his stakes; 
of shepherds he his muster makes;
and thus, as sure his foe to wound,
the angels' trump alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight, 
stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest ward, 
this little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, 
then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

Authorship

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):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Dies kleine Kind", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Ce petit bébé", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Tom White

Text added to the website: 2007-10-01 00:00:00
Last modified: 2015-07-26 10:45:45
Line count: 24
Word count: 162

Ce petit bébé
Language: French (Français)  after the German (Deutsch) 
Ce petit bébé âgé de si peu de jours
est venu pour mettre à bas la demeure de Satan ;
tout l'enfer en sa présence tremble ;
bine que lui-même il tremble de froid ;
car dans sa sagesse faible et désarmée
il va surprendre les portes de l'enfer.

Avec des larmes il lutte et gagne le combat,
sa poitrine nue sert de bouclier ;
ses canons sont ses cris de bébé,
ses flèches sont les regards d'yeux en larmes,
ses emblèmes martiales sont le Froid et le dénuement,
et la chair faible est sa monture de guerrier.

Son camp est établi dans une étable,
son rempart est un mur brisé :
la crèche est sa tranchée, les meules de foin ses pieux,
des bergers il fait sa troupe :
et ainsi sûre de blesser l'ennemi
la trompette des anges sonne l'alarme.

Mon âme, joins-toi au Christ dans la bataille,
les tentes qu'il a dressées,
Dans sa crèche est le quartier le plus sûr,
ce petit bébé sera ton gardien.
Si tu veux tes ennemis joyeusement,
alors ne t'éloigne pas de ce divin garçon.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to French (Français) copyright © 2015 by Guy Laffaille, (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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Text added to the website: 2015-08-16 00:00:00
Last modified: 2015-08-16 09:51:23
Line count: 24
Word count: 184