Un doux nenny (Orlando di Lasso)

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A4 size:         - Original pitch (high chiavette)
A4 size:       - Transposed down a fourth
Letter size:       - Original pitch (high chiavette)
Letter size:       - Transposed down a fourth
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2015-01-29).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 79 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original note-values.
Update: 2017-04-14. Tenor notes in bar 27 have been corrected. (First two minims are D instead of E.)

General Information

Title: Un doux nenny
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Clément Marot , No. LXVII from Les Épigrammes

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

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1560 in Tiers livre des chansons a 4-6 parties, no. 8
  2nd published: 1564 in Quinsieme livre de chansons à quatre cinq & six parties de pleusieurs autheurs. Le Roy et Ballard, Paris
  3rd published: 1570 in Mellange d'Orlande de Lassus, no. 9

Description: Nenny is a familiar way of saying "no," such as the refusal with which a maiden (in this case, possibly Marguerite de Navarre) would deter potential lovers during courting. The epigram has also been attributed to Mellin de Saint-Gelais.

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Un doux nenni avec un doux sourire
est tant honnête il vous le faut apprendre,
quand est d'oui si veniez à le dire
d'avoir trop dit je vous voudrois reprendre,
non que je sois envieux d'entreprendre
d'avoir le fruit dont le désir me point,
mais je voudrois qu'en me le laissant prendre,
vous me disiez: non, vous ne l'aurez point.


English.png English translation

As simple “no” said with a smile that’s sweet
Is something that you really ought to learn.
When you let drop a “yes” all nice and neat,
That you have said too much you should discern;
It’s not that I would ever choose to spurn
The chance to pick the fruit that piques desire;
But please, in dangling that for which I burn,
Make clear it’s nothing I will e’er acquire!

Translation by Thomas Daughton