by Clément Marot (1496 - 1544)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Petit enfant, quel que soit, fille ou...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Petit enfant, quel que soit, fille ou fils, 
Parfais le temps de tes neufs mois préfix. 
Puis en ce monde en grande lumière, 
Viens sans donner détresse coutumière 
A la mère humble en qui Dieu t'a fait naitre, 
Puis d'un doux ris commence à la connaître. 

Après que fait lui auras connaissance, 
Prends peu à peu nourriture et croissance, 
Tant qu'à demi commences à parler 
Et tout seulet en trépignant aller 
Sur les carreaux de ta maison prospère, 
Au passe temps de ta mère et ton père.

Qui de t'y voir un de ces jours prétendent 
Avec ton frère et ta sœur qui t’attendent 
Viens voir de terre et de mer le grand tour 
Avec le ciel qui se courbe à l'entour, 
Viens voir, viens voir mainte belle ornature 
Que chacun d'eux a reçu de nature; 

Je te dirais encor cent mille choses 
Qui sont en terre autour du ciel encloses, 
Belles à l'œil et douce à penser, 
Mais j'aurais peur de ta mère offenser 
Et que d'y voir et d'y penser tu prinses1 
Si grand désir qu'avant le terme vinses! 

Par quoi (enfant) quel que soit fille ou fils, 
Parfais le temps de tes neuf mois préfix!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 [sic]. Grammatically this should be "prises".


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Laura Prichard [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2016-04-15
Line count: 26
Word count: 198

Tiny infant, whichever you are, daughter...
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Tiny infant, whichever you are, daughter or son, 
Perfect the time you have during your predetermined nine months. 
Then into this world, into great light, 
Come without giving the customary distress 
To the humble mother in whom God made you to be born, 
Then with a sweet laugh begin to get to know her. 

After that, you will have met her, 
Take, bit by bit, nourishment and grow
So that at six months you start talking 
And totally alone, toddling, go
On the tiles of your prosperous home, 
To pass time for your mother and father. 

Who aspire to see you on of these days 
Awaited by your brother and sister 
Come see the earth and sea: the grand tour
With the sky curving around you, 
Come see, come see [the] many fine ornaments 
That each has received from nature; 

I’d like to tell you 100,000 things
Which on earth are enclosed by the sky, 
Beautiful to the eye and sweet to the mind, 
But I’d be afraid to offend your mother 
Becasue if you see that, and think of it, you’ll seize on 
Such a strong desire, that you’ll come before your term is up! 

Therefore (infant) whether you’re a daughter or son, 
Perfect this time of your predetermined nine months!

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Avant naissance" = "Before birth"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2016-04-15
Line count: 26
Word count: 212