Il estoit une fillette (Clément Janequin)

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  • (Posted 2020-05-26)  CPDL #58817:        (LilyPond)
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2020-05-26).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 67 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2007-09-08)  CPDL #14742:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2007-09-08).   Score information: A4, 6 pages   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download. Underlay in modern French.
The first (1541) version, to which is appended dance book arrangements by Susato (1551) and Moderne (c. 1550).
  • (Posted 2005-08-30)  CPDL #09227:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2005-08-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 30 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.

General Information

Title: Il estoit une fillette
Composer: Clément Janequin

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

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1540 in Livre 8: 19 chansons a 4 (Attaingnant), no. 4
    2nd published: 1541 in Le Parangon des chansons, livre 9, no. 14

External websites:

Original text and translations

The opening is also set by Canis.
French.png French text

Il estoit une fillette
qui vouloit scavoir le jeu d'amours,
Ung jour qu'elle estoit seullette
je luy en aprins deux ou trois tours,
Apres avoir senty le goust
elle me dit en soubzriant
"Le premier coup me semble lour
mais la fin me semble friant"
Je luy dis "vous me tentez",
elle me dit "recommencez"
Je l'empoingne, je l'embrasse,
Je la fringue fort.
Elle crie "ne cessez",
je luy dis "vous me gastez
Laissez moy, petite garse,
Vous avez grant tort."
Mais quant ce vint a sentir le doulx point
Vous l'eussiez veu mouvoir si doulcement
Que son las cueur luy tremble fort et poingt
Mais, Dieu mercy, c'estoit ung doulx tourment.

English.png English translation

There was a young girl
who would know of the game of love.
One day when she was alone
I taught her a trick or two.
After a taster
she said to me, smiling,
"It's tough at the start,
but the end seems pleasant to me"
I said to her "You tempt me!",
she said "Begin again",
I grasp her, embrace her
and frisk her briskly.
She cries "Don't stop",
I say "I'm wrecked.
Leave me alone little one,
you are doing wrong".
But when it came to the point,
you should have seen her move so gently
that her heart trembled and pained her but,
thank God, it was a sweet torment.

(Trans. Timmi O'Danaos & Donna Ferrentes)

English.png English translation

There was a maid I thought splendid
Who was keen to learn the game of love,
One day when she was unattended
I gave her two or three rounds thereof,
And when she’d figured out the game
She said to me wrapped in a smile
“The first time through was somewhat lame
But by the end I liked your style.”
I said to her, “You’re tempting me,”
She said right back, “Let’s make whoopee”
I grabbed her hard, I hugged her tight.
I pushed in and out.
“Don’t stop ever!” shouted she
I cried back “You’re killing me,
Leave me in peace, you little sprite,
You have worn me out.”
But when to a sweet climax things did come
You would have seen her moved to such extent
That lo I felt her heartstrings twang and strum
But, by God’s mercy, it was sweet torment.

Translation by Thomas Daughton