AH! TOI BELLE HIRONDELLE

by Penny Blake

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in progress – a fine recording will be added soon

‘An old French-Canadian folk tune. Separated lovers keep their love alive with the help of a swallow. The bird flies over the high seas to send the message that they will remain faithful and true to one another’.

Ah toi belle hirondelle qui vole ici
N’as-tu pas vu dans ces îles mon Alexis?
Qui est parti dans les voyage en ces long jours
Il te donnera des nouvelles de son retour.

L’oiseau qu’est tout aimable s’est envolé.
Avec son léger plumage sans est allé,
A traverse l’eau et la mers sans se lasser,
Dessus les mâts de cette flotte s’est repose.

At-aperçu  la hune du bâtiment,
Alexis se lamente en naviguant.
“Parle-moi donc, amant fidèle, parle-moi donc!
Je viens de la part de ta belle.”

L’amant plein de surprise d’entendr’ parler,
De savoir des nouvelles d’sa bien aimé:
‘Tu lui diras, belle hirondelle, qu’à mes amours,
Je lui serai chaste et fidèle,  à mon retour.

translation

Oh thou, swift swallow, who flies so near
Have you seen round these islands, my Alexis?
He’s gone for so long on a voyage far away,
Go find him – will he truly return to me?

The bird, aids the lover, agrees with the task,
She flies with the breeze, and wings on her way,
Across rivers, plains, oceans unceasing she flies,
Till on the mast of a ship at last she alights.

In the midst of the vessel with its high topsail
She espies Alexis lamenting as he steers with the wheel,
“Speak to me, faithful lover, speak to me –
I have news from your fair one across the seas”.

The swain is all astonished to hear the bird speak,
To hear the good news from his fair love,
“Tell her, dear swallow, tell her my pledge –
To her alone I am faithful,  until my return”.

VIEW SCORE

SATB SCORE (PDF)

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SATB – a cappella $2.35 CP 1448