Credits for the lyrics have been given to at least a couple of people - Emile Blemont, and Nicolas Saboly, a Jesuit poet and musician. Some references list this song as an anonymous Renaissance carol.
Translated into English by Edward Cuthbert Nunn.
Presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, Utah.
There have been a few variations of the lyrics.
"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" is based on a French carol, "Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle "which originated from the Provence region of France in the 16th century, and was written by Emile Blemont.
The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility.
In the carol, visitors to the stable have to keep their voices down so little Jesus can enjoy his dreams. To this day in the Provence region, children dress up as shepherds and milkmaids, carrying torches and candles to church services during the Christmas season while singing the carol.
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella,
Bring a torch, to the cradle run!
It is Jesus good folk of the village;
Christ is born and Mary's calling;
Ah! ah! beautiful is the mother
Ah! ah! beautiful is her son!
It is wrong when the Child is sleeping
It is wrong to talk so loud;
Silence, all, as you gather around.
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! hush! see how fast he sleeps!
Hasten now, good folk of the village;
Hasten now the Christ Child to see.
You will find him asleep in the manger;
Quietly come and whisper softly,
Hush! hush! Peacefully now he sleeps.
Softly to the little stable.
Softly in a moment come;
Look and see how charming is Jesus
how he is white, his cheeks are rosey!
Hush! hush! see how the child is sleeping;
Hush! hush! see how he smiles in his dreams.
To be linked to Spiritual Sundays, with thanks to Ginger and Charlotte.
Music of the Christmas Season - Second Post
Music of the Christmas Season - First Post