6 February


Dansons la capucine is a traditional circle dance for children song with lyrics dating from the 18th century.

The story of the song

This children's round was first published by Jean Baptiste Clément in 1868. It is said to have come to him from his grandmother who had lived through the French Revolution.

Indeed, it was originally a revolutionary, parodic and satirical song.
The melody is a version of the refrain of La Carmagnole, a revolutionary song composed in 1792, after the fall of Louis XVI.

Fête de l'Etre Suprême Paris 1794

Fête de l'Etre Suprême Paris, 8th of June 1794

A song that makes fun of the rich

The lyrics show the opposition between the wealth of some and the poverty of others. In fact, the lyrics have a rather bitter meaning. 

In the first few verses, we hear that the narrator is poorer than his neighbour, since she has bread and wine.

Then a fire breaks out, burning down the neighbour's house.

Thus, the narrator rejoices in his neighbour's misfortune.

Therefore, at the end of the song, it is the poor who are happy and the rich unhappy.

What is the 'capucine'?

However, it is not known what 'capucine' refers to. From the original song, we know it replaces the 'carmagnole', the waistcoat worn by workers in Piedmont.

The term "capucine" has an etymology of capuce.

This may be an allusion to the cap-like shape of the flower.

Or it may be an image of the dresses that form a hood when crouching at the end of the circle dance.

What is a circle dance?

The circle dance (une ronde, in French) is a traditional or children's dance in the form of a circle where the dancers usually hold hands.

Dansons la capucine. Photo westend61 via Envato Elements

Photo: westend61 via Envato Elements

Dansons la capucine

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

Dansons la capucine

The lyrics in French

The original song of Dansons la capucine has 4 verses.

Couplet 1

Dansons la capucine

Y’a pas de pain chez nous

Y’en a chez la voisine
Mais ce n’est pas pour nous

You !

Couplet 2

Dansons la capucine
Y'a pas de vin chez nous 

Y'en a chez la voisine
Mais ce n'est pas pour nous

You !

Couplet 3

Dansons la capucine
Y'a pas de feu chez nous 

Y'en a chez la voisine
Mais ce n'est pas pour nous

You !

Couplet 4

Dansons la capucine
Y’a du plaisir chez nous 

On pleure chez la voisine 

On rit toujours chez nous 

Youh !

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

Let's dance the capucine
There's no bread in our house
There's some at the neighbour's
But it's not for us

Verse 2

Let's dance the capucine
There's no wine in our house
There's some at the neighbour's
But it's not for us

Verse 3

Let's dance the capucine
There's no fire in our house
There's some at the neighbour's
But it's not for us

Verse 4

Let's dance the capucine
There's fun at home
There's crying at the neighbour's
We always laugh at our home

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

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Dansons la capucine © French Moments

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

French Nursery Rhymes Cover by French Moments
French Nursery Rhymes
A la claire fontaine © French Moments
Ah ! dis-moi donc bergère © French Moments
Ah ! Les crocodiles © French Moments
Ah ! vous dirai-je, maman © French Moments
Ainsi font, font, font © French Moments
Alouette gentille alouette © French Moments
Au clair de la lune © French Moments
Au feu les pompiers © French Moments
Au royaume de Diguedondaine © French Moments
Auprès de ma blonde © French Moments
Aux marches du palais © French Moments
Blanc Blanc Blanc belle rose © French Moments
Bon voyage Monsieur Dumollet © French Moments
Buvons un coup ma serpette est perdue © French Moments
C'est la mère Michel © French Moments
C'était Anne de Bretagne © French Moments
Cadet Rousselle © French Moments
Car c’est un bon camarade © French Moments
Chère Élise © French Moments
Chevaliers de la table ronde © French Moments
Colchiques dans les prés © French Moments
Compagnons de la Marjolaine © French Moments
Dame Tartine © French Moments
Dans les prisons de Nantes © French Moments
Dansons la capucine © French Moments
Dodo, l'enfant do © French Moments
En passant par la Lorraine © French Moments
Fais dodo © French Moments
Fleur d’épine © French Moments
Frère Jacques © French Moments
Gentil coquelicot © French Moments
Il court, il court, le furet © French Moments
Il était un petit cordonnier © French Moments
Il était un petit navire © French Moments
Il était une bergère © French Moments
Il pleut, il pleut, bergère © French Moments
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J'ai un gros nez rouge © French Moments
J'fais pipi sur le gazon © French Moments
Je te tiens par la barbichette © French Moments
Joyeux anniversaire © French Moments
La bonne aventure ô gué © French Moments
La danse des canards © French Moments
La légende de saint Nicolas © French Moments
Le bon roi Dagobert © French Moments
Le carillon de Vendôme © French Moments
Le coucou © French Moments
Le facteur n'est pas passé © French Moments
Le fermier dans son pré © French Moments
Le temps des cerises © French Moments
Le temps du muguet © French Moments
Le vieux MacDonald © French Moments
Les filles de La Rochelle © French Moments
Maman les p'tits bateaux © French Moments
Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre © French Moments
Meunier, tu dors © French Moments
Mignonne allons voir si la rose © French Moments
Mon âne © French Moments
Mon père m'a donné un mari © French Moments
Ne pleure pas Jeannette © French Moments
Nous n'irons plus au bois © French Moments
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Passe passe passera © French Moments
Pirouette Cacahuète © French Moments
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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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