by Clément Marot (1496 - 1544)
Translation © by David K. Smythe

Une pastourelle gentille
Language: Old French (Ancien français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Une pastourelle gentille, 
Et ung Bergier en ung Verger 
L'autrhyer jouant à la Bille 
S'entredisoient pour abreger,
C'est trop à la Bille joué.
Chantons Noé, Noé, Noé.

Te souvient il plus du Prophete
Qui nous dist cas de si hault faict, 
Que d'une Pucelle parfaicte 
Naistroit ung Enfant tout parfaict?
Est faict;
La belle
A eu un Filz au Ciel voué,
Chantons Noé, Noé, Noé.

J. Binet sets stanza 2

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Les œuvres de Clément Marot, Lyon: G. Roville, 1547, pages 384-385.

Modernized version:
Une pastourelle gentille,
Et un berger en un verger,
L'autr'hier en jouant à la bille
S'entredisaient, pour abréger :
C'est trop à la bille joué ;
Chantons Noél ! Noél! Noél ! Noél !

Te souvient-il plus du prophète
Qui nous dit cas de si haut fait
Que d'une pucelle parfaite
Naîtrait un enfant tout parfait ?
Est fait,
La belle
A un fils du ciel avoué :
Chantons Noél ! Noél ! Noél ! Noél !


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 (David K. Smythe) , "Song of Christmas Day", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2016-12-20
Line count: 20
Word count: 71

Song of Christmas Day
Language: English  after the Old French (Ancien français) 
A nice shepherd girl,
And a shepherd in an orchard
One day playing a game of marbles
Said to each other to while away the time,
That's enough playing of marbles
Let us sing Noel, Noel, Noel.

Do they recall more of the prophet 1 
Who prophesied such an important event,
That from a perfect virgin
Would be born an entirely perfect child?
The event
Is done;
The beautiful
Has had an acknowledged son of heaven.
Let us sing Noel, Noel, Noel.


  • Translation from Old French (Ancien français) to English copyright © by David K. Smythe, (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: 2003-10-13
Line count: 20
Word count: 87