Another Joseph carol, a bit less well-known than the various iterations of the cherry tree. This is a traditional French carol which I haven’t been able to find a provenance for, but certainly sounds like it’s from the Renaissance (not weird enough to the modern ear to be medieval, but the instrumentation and tune is definitely pre-baroque. Also, it sounds like incidental music from any Shakespeare play you’d care to mention, which is definitely Renaissance or pseudo-renaissance…)
The title basically means “Joseph married well”. I’ve put a (hasty and probably bad – it’s late at night and I’m on a break from confectionery) translation below, but again, I’m being fairly brief because my finger is still kind of painful to type with. Also, not all the verses they sing are in the translation below, but this was the best I could do…
I did discover in my travels that Claude Balbastre wrote a rather lovely organ voluntary consisting of variations on this melody. This is definitely worth your attention if you like harpsichord or organ music.
|Joseph est bien marié à la fille de Jessé.
C’était chose bien nouvelle D’être mère et pucelle.
Et quand ce fut au premier Que Dieu voulut nous sauver
Quand Joseph eut aperçu Que la femme avait conçu
Mais l’ange si lui a dit: Joseph n’en aie point dépit,
Les anges y sont venus Voir le Rédempteur Jésus.
Or prions dévôtement De bon coeur et humblement.
|Joseph married well, to the daughter of Jesse
This was something very new, to be mother and virgin
God made it so: Joseph married well.
And when God first wanted to redeem us
He made his only son Jesus descend to earth
When Joseph realised that the woman was with child
But the angel said to him: Joseph, do not think ill of her
The angels came to see the Saviour Jesus
In gorgeous company, then with loud, beautiful voices
Therefore we pray with devotion, sincerity and humbleness
(apologies for that last line – Renaissance French is not my strong suit, so it’s very approximate)