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Saturday, December 01, 2007

 

Riu, Riu, Chiu

Happy advent! Here's something nice for the season: a choir singing the beautiful carol Riu Riu Chiu. From the camerawork, I suspect the owner of the video's son is either the tall blond boy with glasses or the short, dark-haired one in the middle, as the view never wanders away to any of the other choristers - and why not, after all? It's his camera, he can point it wherever he likes. Anyway, it's a lovely carol, and a really rather good choir.

Or, indeed, you could listen to the Monkees sing it. Seriously, they sing it really nicely.

For those of you who haven't heard the carol before, the lyrics translate thus:

Riu, riu, chiu (nightingale's sounds)
The river bank protects it,
As God kept the wolf
from our lamb.
The rabid wolf tried to bite her,
But God Almighty knew how to defend her,
He wished to create her impervious to sin,
Nor was this maid to embody original sin.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

The newborn child is the mightiest monarch,
Christ patriarchal invested with flesh.
He made himself small and so redeemed us:
He who was infinite became finite.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Many prophecies told of his coming,
And now in our days have we seen them fulfilled.
God became man, on earth we behold him,
And see man in heaven because he so willed.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

A thousand singing herons I saw passing,
Flying overhead, sounding a thousand voices,
Exhulting, "Glory be in the heavens, and peace on Earth, for Jesus has been born."
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

He comes to give life to the dead,
He comes to redeem the fall of man;
This child is the light of day,
He is the very lamb Saint John prophecied.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Now we have gotten what we were all desiring,
Go we together to bear him gifts:
Let each give his will to the God who was willing
To come down to Earth man’s equal to be.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

You can read a parallel text here, which is where I pinched the translation.

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