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XVe ou XVIe siècle

À la claire fontaine
M’en allant promener
J’ai trouvé l’eau si belle
Que je m’y suis baigné

Il y a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai

Sous les feuilles d’un chêne
Je me suis fait sécher
Sur la plus haute branche
Un rossignol chantait

Chante rossignol chante
Toi tu as le cœur gai
Tu as le cœur à rire
Moi je l’ai-t-à pleurer

J’ai perdu ma maîtresse
Sans l’avoir mérité
Pour un bouquet de roses
Que je lui refusai

J’aimerais que la rose
Fût encore au rosier
Et moi et ma maîtresse
Dans les mêmes amitiés

15th or 16th century

translated by Catherine Browne

I went down to the river
I went down by the shore
I stepped into the water
Where I once stepped before

Long, so long now have I loved you
Oh love I will not forget

Then so green was the oak tree
I lay down in the shade
There to hear the sweet songbird
Nightingale in the glade

Bird your song is so happy
For your heart is so free
You have a heart of laughter
My sorrow is so deep

The friend I lost through a quarrel
Is the one I love best
The rose that I would not give her
Has withered like the rest

If only the rose were a rosebud
Not yet plucked from the bush
And the friendship between us
Still now as it once stood

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