Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" (French: Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle) is a Christmas carol which originated from the Provence region of France in the 17th century. The song is usually notated in 3/8 time.
The carol was first published in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not meant to be sung at Christmas; it was considered dance music for French nobility.
The song title refers to two female farmhands who have found the baby and his mother in a stable. Excited by this discovery, they run to a nearby village to tell the inhabitants, who rush to see the new arrivals. Visitors to the stable are urged to keep their voices quiet, so the newborn can enjoy his dreams.
To this day, on Christmas Eve in the Provence region, children dressed as shepherds and milkmaids carry torches and candles while singing the carol, on their way to Midnight Mass.
- (*) The word Hark! or Hush is sometimes substituted for Ah!
- (*) "How he is white" is a more accurate translation of the French, "Comme il est blanc!"
- Alternative Lyrics:
- Bring a torch, Jeannette, Isabella!
- Bring a torch to the cradle run!
- It is Jesus, good folk of the village;
- Christ is born and Mary's calling:
- Ah! ah! beautiful is the mother!
- Ah! ah! beautiful is her Son!
- It is wrong when the Child is sleeping
- It is wrong to talk so loud;
- Silence, all, as you gather around,
- Lest your noise should waken Jesus:
- Hush! hush! see how fast He slumbers:
- Hush! hush! see how fast He sleeps!
- Softly to the little stable,
- Softly for the moment come;
- Look and see how charming is Jesus,
- See how He smiles, Oh see how rosy!
- Hush! hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
- Hush! hush! see how He smiles in dreams.
- Morgan, Robert J. (2003-11-30). "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle". A Pocket Paper. The Donelson Fellowship. Archived from the original on 2004-01-24. Retrieved 2006-07-13.
- Kevin Mallon, Aradia Ensemble. Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Noëls and Christmas Motets.Naxos 8.557036
- French lyrics from: Giunco, Marco. "Jeanette, Isabelle - Traditional". Fast Folk Musical Magazine - October '86 - Season'S Greetings. marcogiunco.com. Archived from the original on 2005-03-12. Retrieved 2006-07-13. apparently typed in by Marco Giunco from the lyrics sheets in the magazine given above.