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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

Listen to the the music tracks

Une puce j’ai dedans l’oreille

Roland de Lassus

Source : ‘Roland de Lassus: Chansons et moresche’; ensemble Clément Janequin; dir. Dominique Visse; Harmonia mundi HMA 1951391 (1992, 2001).


(text by Jean-Antoine de Baïf; after a villanesca, "No pulice m’entrato nell’orecchia…", put to music by B. Donato, Primo libro di canzon villanesche, Venise, Gardane, 1550)

Roland de Lassus was a musician renowned throughout Europe. He left the Bavarian court to travel to Paris in 1571, 1573 and 1574, at the invitation of Charles IX. During his stays, he set to music texts by Marot, Ronsard and Du Bellay. He also took an interest in the work of the Academy of Poetry and Music, which had been founded in 1570 by Jean-Antoine de Baïf and Joachim Thibault de Courville, and took part in experiments with musique mesurée à l’antique, of which this air is a rare specimen. Although it is based on similar principles, Lassus's version proposes rhythmics "à l'antique" that are rather different from those of the French (Le Jeune), with a more nuanced treatment of the note values.

Transcription (in French)

Une puce j’ay dedans l’oreille’ helas !
Qui de nuit & de jour me fretille & me mord
Et me faict devenir fou.
Nul remede n’i puis donner,
Je cours deça, je cours dela,
Ote la moy, retire la moy, je t’en pri,
O toute belle, secours moy.

Quand mes yeux je pence livrer au someil,
Elle vient me piquer, me demange, me poingt
Et me garde de dormir.
Nul remede…

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