Une puce j'ai dedans l'oreille hélas! (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • (Posted 2014-10-10)  CPDL #33117:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2014-10-10).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 57 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from Meslanges 1619.

General Information

Title: Une puce j'ai dedans l'oreille hélas!
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Jean Antoine de Baïf

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SSATB
Genre: SecularChanson

Language: French
First published: 1576 in Les meslanges, tant en vers latins qu’en ryme francoyse, no.  
Description: The saying, “avoir la puce en l’oreille” (to have a flea in one’s ear), recurs frequently in 15th-century French poetry. In its basic connotation it refers to a state of disquiet or discomfort, but in the 13th or 14th century the saying acquired a sexual connotation signifying a state of extreme anxiety and torment brought on by love, in other words, sexual desire or arousal.

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Une puce j’ai dedans l’oreille, hélas
Qui de nuit et de jour me frétille et me mord
Et me fait devenir fou.

 Nul remède n’y puis donner, je cours de là,
 Retire-la moi je t’en prie.
 O toute belle, secoure-moi.

Quand mes yeux je pense livrer au sommeil
Elle vient me piquer, me démange et me poind,
et me garde de dormir.
 Nul remède…

D’une vielle charmeresse aidé je suis
Qui guérit tout le monde, et de tout guérissant
ne m’a su me guérir moi.
 Nul remède…

Bien je sais que seule peut guérir ce mal
Je te prie de me voir de bon œil
et vouloir m’amollir ta cruauté.
 Nul remède…

English.png English translation

I have got a flea stuck in my ear, alas!
Which all night and all day tickles me, chomps on me
And is sure to drive me nuts.

 Remedy cannot be had, I run from here,
 I run to there, do take it out, I beg you.
 Please, o my lovely one, save me!

When I think to close my eyes and fall asleep
In it comes and pokes me, itches me, vexes me,
And makes sure I cannot sleep,
 Remedy…

From an old enchantress I have got some help
Which has cured everyone, and though it has cured all
It will do nothing for me.
 Remedy…

I know well that just one thing can cure my ill
I beg you to see me favorably
And to find in your heart to be less cruel.
 Remedy…

Translation by Thomas Daughton