Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman

December 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

Ah! vous dirai-je, maman,
Ce qui cause mon tourment?
Papa veut que je raisonne,
Comme une grande personne.
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison.

Roughly translated:

Ah! I tell you mummy,
What is causing me torment?
Daddy wants me to reason
Like a grown-up
Me, I say that sweets
are worth more than reason.

The song first appeared in print the mid 1700s, 1761, 1771 depending on what you read. The tune you will recognise as Twinkle, Twinkle, Baa Baa Black Sheep, or even the Alpabet song..

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote an amazing set of variations on the tune in the 1780s.

I love this version by Lucienne Vernay et les Quatre Barbus (a French group from the late 50s who made several albums of French childrens songs), which is a nod to the Mozart arrangements, though not using them in their entirety.


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§ One Response to Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman

  • Lewis Carrol also wrote words for the Mad Hatter to sing to this tune; they are mad and wonderful!

    Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
    How I wonder what you’re at!
    Up above the world you fly,
    Like a tea tray in the sky.
    Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
    How I wonder what you’re at!

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