"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 for Christmas; it was considered dance music for French nobility.
The carol first appeared in print in 1688 with the Provençal text Venès lèu, Vèire la piéucello; Venès lèu, Genti pastourèu! in a collection of twelve Provençal noëls by Nicolas Saboly. The popularity of the melody is attested by its use four years later by Marc-Antoine Charpentier for the drinking song, Qu'ils sont doux, bouteille jolie in a 1672 revival of Molière's Le médecin malgré lui.
The characters "Jeannette" and "Isabelle/Isabella" are two female farmhands who have found the Baby Jesus and his mother Mary 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.
- The words "cradle run" are sometimes substituted for "stable call".
- The words It is Jesus, good folk of the village are sometimes substituted for Christ is born, tell the folk of the village.
- The word Christ is sometimes substituted for Jesus
- The word Hark! or Hush is sometimes substituted for Ah!.
- The word Child is sometimes substituted for Son.
- The word all is sometimes substituted for now.
- "How he is white" is a more accurate translation of the French, "Comme il est blanc!".
- The words "See how he smiles, oh," are sometimes substituted for "Look at Him there".
- 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.
- Micoulau Saboly; François Marie César Seguin (1856). Recueil des noëls composés en langue provençale. Fr. Seguin. p. 17.
- Micoulau Saboly; François Marie César Seguin (1856). Recueil des noëls composés en langue provençale. Fr. Seguin. pp. xxxix.
- Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (2005). Marc-Antoine Charpentier: un musicien retrouvé. Editions Mardaga. p. 124. ISBN 978-2-87009-887-5.
- 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.