by Victor Wilder (1835 - 1892)
Translation © by M. Ryan Taylor

Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
La nuit descend du haut des cieux,
Le givre au toit suspend ses franges.
Et, dans les airs, le vol des anges
Éveille un bruit mystérieux.

L'étoile qui guidait les mages,
S'arrête enfin dans les nuages,
Et fait briller un nimbe d'or
Sur la chaumiére où Jésus dort.

Alors, ouvrant ses yeux divins,
L'enfant couché, dans l'humble crèche,
De son berceau de paille fraîche,
Sourit aux nobles pélérins.

Eux, s'inclinant, lui disent: Sire,
Reçois l'encens, l'or et la myrrhe, 
Et laisse-nous, ô doux Jésus,
Baiser le bout de tes pieds nus.

Comme eux, ô peuple, incline-toi,
Imite leur pieux exemple,
Car cette étable, c'est un temple,
Et cet enfant sera ton roi!


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 (M. Ryan Taylor) , "Noel", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Garrett Medlock) , "Noel", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:56
Line count: 20
Word count: 112

Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The night descends from the top of the skies,
The white frost on the roof suspends its fringes.
And, in the sky, the flight of the angels
Awakes a mysterious noise.

The star which guided the magi,
Stops finally in the clouds,
And shines a golden nimbus
Round the cottage where Jesus sleeps.

Then, opening its divine eyes,
The reclining child in the humble crib,
A cradle of fresh straw,
Smiles to noble the pilgrims.

They, being inclined, say to him: Lord,
Receive this incense, gold and the myrrh,
And let us, oh gentle Jesus,
Kiss the end of your naked feet.

See how they, oh people, are inclined,
Follow their pious example,
Because this cattle shed, it is a temple,
And this child will be your king!


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by M. Ryan Taylor, (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


Text added to the website: 2007-07-29 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:26
Line count: 20
Word count: 128