Ung mari se voulant coucher (Clément Janequin)

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  • (Posted 2010-11-01)  CPDL #22563:         
Editor: Didier Chalu (submitted 2010-11-01).   Score information: A4, 4 pages   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Ung mari se voulant coucher
Composer: Clément Janequin

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1543 in Livre 13: 19 chansons a 4 (Pierre Attaingnant), no. 3
Description:  This odd narrative plays on two French idiomatic expressions whose usage predates 1500. One is the vulgar use of “maillet” (mallet or hammer) to refer to the male sexual organ. The other is the expression “faire de son poing un maillet,” which means literally “to use one’s fist as a hammer,” but colloquially was an indication that a person did not know the correct use of something. That expression also sometimes appeared in the form of a proverb holding that “Only a fool uses his fist for a hammer.”

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Ung mari se voulant coucher
Avecques sa femme nouvelle
S'en vint tout bellement cacher
Ung gros maillet en la ruelle.
" Hélas, mon amy, ce dist-elle
Quel maillet vous voys-je empoigner ?
- C'est, ce dist-il, pour mieux coigner !
- J'ay, ce dist-elle, ung peu vescu,
Mais coup de maillet n'ay oncq eu.
Quand gros Jean me vient besoigner,
Il ne me coigne que du cul. "

English.png English translation

A husband keen to have his way
In congress with his brand new bride
Did to their chamber steal away
To hide a hammer at bedside.
“Alas, my dear,” his wife did say,
“At what are we supposed to play?”
- Said he, “That’s for a better lay!”
- “I am,” she said, “no girl wide-eyed,
But a hammer whack I’ve not tried.
When Big John comes to make my day
He only bangs me from behind.”

Translation by Thomas Daughton