La morre est jeu pire (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • (Posted 2020-04-13)  CPDL #57978:        (LilyPond)
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2020-04-13).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 59 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2015-02-22)  CPDL #34644: 
A4 size:        
Letter size:      
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2015-02-22).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 61 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original pitch (chiavi naturali) and note-values. Alto part is in tenor clef. French spelling modernised.

General Information

Title: La morre est jeu pire
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Clément Marot

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

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1564 in Premier livre des chansons a 4 et 5 parties, no. 10
    2nd published: 1565 in Dixsetieme livre de chansons (Le Roy & Ballard), Edition 1, no. 9
    3rd published: 1570 in Mellange d'Orlande de Lassus, no. 26
    4th published: 1576 in Le thresor de musique (sacred contrafact), Edition 1, no. 38

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Original text
La morre est jeu pire qu'aux quilles,
ne qu'aux échecs ne qu'au quillart
à ce méchant jeu Coquillart
perdit sa vie et ses coquilles.

Sacred contrafact (from Le thresor de musique d'Orlande de Lassus)
Les dez, c'est jeu pire qu'aux quilles,
Ni qu'aux eschez ne qu'au quillart.
Mais à tout fol jeu, maint raillart,
Perdra sa vie et ses coquilles.

English.png English translation

Morra is worse than nine-pins,
Worse than chess and worse than billiards
At this nasty game Coquillart*
Lost his life and his fortune.

*Guillaume Coquillart was a French poet much admired by Marot who was said to have died of grief after losing his fortune in a game of morra. “Coquillart” means “pilgrim” and “coquille” means “shell”, so the last two lines are also a pun referring to the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, the symbol of which is the cockleshell.

Translation by Thomas Daughton