Ce Mai (Clément Janequin)

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  • (Posted 2023-02-19)  CPDL #72721:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2023-02-19).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 169 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download. This edition is offered at original pitch for SATB or transposed down a fourth for ATTB

General Information

Title: Ce Mai
Composer: Clément Janequin
Lyricist: Anonymous
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicings: SATB or ATTB
Genre: SecularChanson

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1552 in Livre 10: XXVI chansons nouvelles (Nicolas Du Chemin), no. 17

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Ce may nous dit la verdure,
et en leur chant ces oyseaux,
Que de chagrin n'ayons cure,
O Dieu tant ces prez sont beaux!
Qu'aurions de plaisirs nouveaux,
Si ainsi que ie souhaite
Ie l'y tenoye seulette?
Du moins toute descouverte
De coqu et violette
Elle auroit la cotte verte*
Et si en ce voyant nue
Crioit ie suis mor sondue.
Aussi tost seroit couverte.

French.png French text

Ce Mai nous dit la verdure,
Et en leur chant ces oiseaux,
Que de chagrin n'ayons cure.
O Dieu, tant ces prés sont beaux!
Qu'aurions de plaisirs nouveaux,
Si ainsi que je souhaite
Je l'y tenaie seulette?
Du moins, toute découverte
De coucou et violette,
Elle aurait la cotte verte*;
Et si en ce voyant nue
Criait, "Je suis morfondue",
Aussitôt serait couverte.

English.png English translation

In May the greenery
And the birds in song tell us
To bear no sorrows.
O.m.g., these meadows are so beautiful!
What new pleasures would we have
If thus, as I wish,
I were to hold her there alone?
At least, unveiled
To the cuckoo and violet,
She would get the green gown*;
And if, being seen naked,
She'd cry out "I am freezing",
She'd be covered up soon enough.

(trans Timmi O'Danaos & Donna Ferrentes)

*la cotte vert/ the green gown: *Dress stains resulting from fornication upon damp grass. An idiom common to both English and French folksong; not to be confused with Monica Lewinsky's blue dress.