This song probably goes back to the 18th century. The pronunciation of "oi" (wa) as "weh" as reflected in the spelling gives the impression that the song is older. "Weh" was the standard pronunciation of "oi" (wa) in the 1600's.

You can find this in the following words: "moi" spelled moué (me), "bois" spelled boué (wood), "roi" spelled roué (king), "soie" spelled soué (silk).

If the lyrics of the chorus ever meant anything, the meaning has long been lost.

Notes

*The very end can also be found as "au Roué" (to the King) or even "oh eh".
**Alternate line "D'vint amoureux de moué" (Fell in love with me)
***Alternate line: "Ma mie, embrassez-moué" (My dear, kiss me).

An additional verse can be found after the 2nd verse:
Le maître qui m'enseigne (The teacher who teaches me)
D'vint amoureux de moué… (Fell in love with me…)

Then the next verse becomes:
"Il me fit faire une robe… He had a dress made for me…

*****

Monique wrote, "I found a much longer version in 'Trésor des plus belles mélodies de tous les temps et de tous les pays' (V. Delfolie, Ed. Edsco, Chambéry, France, 1947). Here is the first verse in full followed by the first two lines of each successive verse (built on the same pattern as the 1st verse):

Mon père et puis ma mère (My father and [then] my mother)
N'ont de fille que moué (Have no daughter but me)
N'ont de fille que moué (Have no daughter but me)
La destinée, la rose au boué, (The destiny, the rose in the wood)
N'ont de fille que moué, (Have no daughter but me)
N'ont de fille que moué. (Have no daughter but me.)

Ils me mirent à l'école, (They put me in school)
À l'école du Roué… (In the King's school)

Le maître qui m'enseigne (The teacher who teaches me)
D'vint amoureux de moué… (Fell in love with me…)

Il m'achète une robe (He bought me a dress)
Une robe de soué… (A silk dress)

Le tailleur qui la coud (The tailor who sews it)
Est le tailleur du Roué…(Is the King's tailor)

À chaque coup d'aiguille (With every stitch –lit. "with every needle stroke")
"Ma mie, embrasse-moué"…(My dear, kiss me)

"Je ne suis pas fillette (I'm no girl)
Qui embrass' les garçons… (Who kisses the boys)

Mais je suis bien fillette (But I am a girl)
Pour apprendr' ma leçon… (Who learns my lesson)

C' n'est pas l'affaire des filles (It's not the girls' business)
D'embrasser les garçons…(To kiss the boys)

Mais c'est l'affaire des filles, (But it's the girls' business)
De r'messer* les maisons… (To clean the house)

Quand les maisons sont propres, (When the houses are clean)
Les amoureux y vont… (The suitors go there)

Et ils y vienn't quatre à quatre (They go four by four)
En jouant du violon… (Playing the violin)

S'asseyont sur le coffre (They sit on the chest)
Le frappont du talon… (They hit it with their heels)

Si l' coffre fait "la sourde" (If the chest sounds muffled)
Les galants ils restont…(The suitors stay)

Ils caressont la fille (They court the daughter)
À la mère ils causont… (They talk to the mother)

Et si le coffre est vide (If the chest is empty)
Les galants ils s' taisont…(The suitors stay quiet)

Quand les maisons sont sales (When the houses are dirty)
Les amoureux s'en vont… (The suitors leave)

Ils s'en vont quatre par quatre (They leave four by four)
En jouant du bâton… (Playing with their sticks)

L'un s'est cassé la jambe (One broke his leg)
Et l'autre le menton…(The other broke his chin)

Faut leur mettre un emplâtre (They need a poultice)
Un emplâtre fort bon… (A very good poultice)

La mère les rappelle, (The mother calls them back)
"Galants, revenez donc"…("Suitors/Young men, do come back")

J'ai d'argent dans ma poche, (I have money in my pocket)
Nous vous en donnerons… (We will give you some)

- Non pas, non pas, la mère, (Not at all, not at all, old lady
Votre coffre est plein de son…" (Your chest is full of bran.)

* Burgundy word for "to clean".

Comments

This song emigrated to Canada and became known as, La rose au bois.

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - La rose au boué

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing and translating this song (with Lisa), for the midi, the sheet music and the mp3.

Merci beaucoup !

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