Le rossignol plaisant et gratieux

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Text and translations

The text was printed in La fleur de Poésie françoyse (Paris, 1543). No authors are named in this collection. The English (anonymous) translation was first published in Musica Transalpina (1588) and was the standard anglophone text.

French.png French text

(Original text)
Le rossignol plaisant et gracieulx,
Habiter veult toujours au vert bocage:
Aux champs voler et par tous aultres lieux
Sa liberte aymant plus que la caige.
Mais le mien cueur qui demeure en hostaige,
Soubz triste dueil qui le tient en ses lacs.
Du rossignol ne cherche ladvantaige
Ne de son chant recepvoir le soulas.

English.png English translation

The merry and graceful nightingale
wants to live always in the verdant woods,
to fly to the fields and everywhere else,
loving its freedom more than its cage.
But my heart, which remains a hostage
to sad grief, which holds it in its snares,
does not reach for the privilege of the nightingale,
nor wants to get relief by its song.

Translation by Gerhard Weydt
French.png French text

(modernised text)
Le rossignol, plaisant et gratieux,
habiter veut toujours au verd bocage,
aux chams voler et par tous autres lieux,
aimant mieux sa liberté que sa cage.
Mais le mien coeur qui demeure en ostage
sous triste deuil qui le tient en ses lacs
du rossignol ne cherche l'avantage
ne de son chant, recevoir le soulas.

German.png German translation

Die fröhliche und anmutige Nachtigall
will immer wohnen in den grünen Wäldern,
in die Felder fliegen und sonst wohin,
ihre Freiheit mehr liebend als ihren Käfig.
Aber mein Herz, das immer noch die Geisel
traurigen Kummers ist, der sie in seinen Schlingen hält,
sucht nicht das Vorrecht der Nachtigall,
noch durch ihren Gesang Trost zu erlangen.

Translation by Gerhard Weydt
English.png English text

(Musica Transalpina)
The nightingale so pleasant and so gay,
In greenwood groves delights to make his dwelling,
In fields to fly chanting his roundelay,
At liberty against the cage rebelling.
But my poor heart with sorrows overswelling,
Through bondage vile, binding my freedom short,
No pleasure takes in these his sports excelling,
Nor of his song receiveth no comfort.