"The prisoner in Holland"
(other well-known title : "Aupres de ma blonde")


This is one of the most typical french folk songs, perhaps the most typical of all, and it dates from the 17th century. King Louis XIV fought wars against Holland, so it is not surprising that french soldiers or sailors may have been taken prisoners by the Dutch, and that their wives or girlfriends were weeping for them. But it is not really a sad song.

The song became very populars amongst civilians and soldiers alike, and may have been often sung by marching troops ; it is said that the soldiers of marshal Villars sang it when entering the town of Quesnoy in 1712.

Unfortunately, it suffered later the fate of most old french folk songs : it was despised and reduced to a childrens' song, which it was not.

There are of course many different versions of this song. This is one of them :

 


 

"Le prisonnier de Hollande"
(The prisoner in Holland)

 

Au jardin de mon pere, les lauriers sont fleuris, (2)
(in my father's garden, the laurels have blossomed) (2)
Tous les oiseaux du monde viennent y faire leur nid.
(all the birds of the world come there to make their nest)

Aupres de ma blonde, qu'il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon,
(near to my blonde, it is so good, so good, so good,)
Aupres de ma blonde, qu'il fait bon dormir !
(near to my blonde, it is so good to sleep !)

Tous les oiseaux du monde viennent y faire leur nid, (2)
(all the birds of the world come there to make their nest) (2)
La caille, la tourterelle, et la jolie perdrix.
(the quail, the turtle-dove, and the nice partridge)

La caille, la tourterelle, et la jolie perdrix, (2)
(the quail, the turtle-dove, and the nice partridge) (2)
Et ma gentille colombe, qui chante jour et nuit.
(and my gentle dove, which sings day and night)

Et ma gentille colombe, qui chante jour et nuit, (2)
(and my gentle dove, which sings day and night) (2)
Qui chante pour les filles qui n'ont point de mari.
(which sings for the girls who haven't a husband)

Qui chante pour les filles qui n'ont point de mari, (2)
(which sings for the girls who haven't a husband) (2)
Pour moi ne chante guere, car j'en ons un joli.
(for me it doesn't sing, for I have a nice one)

Pour moi ne chante guere, car j'en ons un joli. (2)
(for me it doesn't sing, for I have a nice one) (2)
Dites-nous donc, la belle, ou donc est vot' mari ?
(so tell us, beauty, where is your husband then ?)

Dites-nous donc, la belle, ou donc est vot' mari ? (2)
(so tell us, beauty, where is your husband then ?) (2)
Il est dans la Hollande, les Hollandois l'ont pris.
(he is in Holland, the Dutch have taken him)

Il est dans la Hollande, les Hollandois l'ont pris. (2)
(he is in Holland, the Dutch have taken him) (2)
Que donneriez-vous belle, pour ravoir votre ami ?
(what would you give, beauty, to have your friend back ?)

Que donneriez-vous belle, pour ravoir votre ami ? (2)
(what would you give, beauty, to have your friend back ?) (2)
Je donnerions bien Rennes, Versailles et Saint-Denis.
(I would give Rennes, Versailles and Saint-Denis)

Je donnerions bien Rennes, Versailles et Saint-Denis, (2)
(I would give Rennes, Versailles and Saint-Denis) (2)
Les tours de Notre-Dame, et ma colombe aussi.
(the towers of Notre-Dame, and my dove too)

Les tours de Notre-Dame, et ma colombe aussi, (2)
(the towers of Notre-Dame, and my dove too) (2)
Et ma jolie colombe, qui chante jour et nuit.
(and my nice dove, which sings day and night)

 


 

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