7 February


Il pleut il pleut bergère is a traditional French song with lyrics dating from the 18th century.

The story of the song

Il pleut il pleut bergère is a song from the one-act comic opera "Laure et Pétrarque", written in 1780 by Fabre d'Églantine (1750-1794), a French actor, dramatist, poet, and politician of the French Revolution.

Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine 1793

Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine, 1793

The music is by Louis-Victor Simon (1764-1820) who was born into a family of musicians from Metz. His father was a musician at the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Metz.

The song first became known under the title Le Retour aux champs before it took on its present title around 1787. It is also known by other names: L'Orage or L'Hospitalité.

The French Revolution

Therefore, the song was popular a couple of years before the beginning of the French Revolution (1789). 

It would have been sung the day after the storming of the Bastille in July 1789, when the National Guard was created.

Thus, the shepherdess would be Queen Marie-Antoinette of Austria who liked to play the shepherdess in the Queen's hamlet in the park of the Palace of Versailles.

Hameau de Marie-Antoinette Versailles 03 © French Moments

Hameau de Marie-Antoinette, Versailles © French Moments

The storm mentioned in the first verses would refer to the troubles of the French Revolution. 

Legend has it that its author, Fabre d'Eglantine, hummed the song on 5 April 1794 as he stepped onto the guillotine's scaffold.

A double meaning song

Like most nursery rhymes from this period, the seemingly innocuous lyrics have a double meaning for adults on closer inspection.

Il pleut il pleut bergere 1903

Il pleut il pleut bergère

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

Il pleut il pleut bergère

The lyrics in French

The original song of Il pleut il pleut bergère has 6 verses.

Couplet 1

Il pleut, il pleut, bergère
Presse tes blancs moutons
Allons sous ma chaumière
Bergère vite allons
J'entends sous le feuillage
L'eau qui tombe à grand bruit
Voici venir l'orage
Voici l'éclair qui luit

Couplet 2

Entends-tu le tonnerre ?
Il roule en approchant
Prends un abri, bergère
À ma droite en marchant
Je vois notre cabane
Et tiens voici venir
Ma mère et ma soeur Anne
Qui vont l'étable ouvrir

Couplet 3

Bonsoir, bonsoir ma mère
Ma soeur Anne, bonsoir
J'amène ma bergère
Près de nous pour ce soir
Va te sécher, ma mie
Auprès de nos tisons
Soeur, fais lui compagnie
Entrez petits moutons

Couplet 4

Soignons bien, oh ma mère
Son tant joli troupeau
Donnez plus de litière
À son petit agneau
C'est fait allons près d'elle
Eh bien donc te voilà
En corset qu'elle est belle
Ma mère, voyez-la !

Couplet 5

Soupons, prends cette chaise
Tu seras près de moi
Ce flambeau de mélèze
Brûlera devant toi
Goûte de ce laitage
Mais tu ne manges pas ?
Tu te sens de l'orage
Il a lassé tes pas

Couplet 6

Eh bien voilà ta couche
Dors-y jusques au jour
Sur ton front pur ma bouche
Prend un baiser d'amour
Ne rougis pas bergère
Ma mère et moi demain
Nous irons chez ton père
Lui demander ta main

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

It rains, it rains, shepherdess
Press your white sheep
Let's go under my thatched cottage
Shepherdess, let's go quickly
I hear under the foliage
The water falling with great noise
Here comes the storm
Here comes the lightning

Verse 2

Can you hear the thunder?
It rolls as it approaches
Take shelter, shepherdess
To my right as I walk
I see our hut
And here comes
My mother and my sister Anne
Who are going to open the stable

Verse 3

Good evening, good evening my mother
My sister Anne, good evening
I bring my shepherdess
Close to us for this evening
Go dry yourself, my dear
By our fireplaces
Sister, keep her company
Come in little sheep

Verse 4

Let's take good care, oh my mother
Her so pretty flock
Give more bedding
To her little lamb
It's done, let's go near her
Well then, here you are
In a corset she is beautiful
My mother, see her!

Verse 5

Let's have a meal, take this chair
You'll be near me
This torch of larch
Will burn before you
Taste this milk
But aren't you eating?
You feel the storm
It has wearied your steps

Verse 6

Well here is your bed
Sleep on it until the day
On your pure forehead my mouth
Take a kiss of love
Do not blush, shepherdess
My mother and I tomorrow
We'll go to your father
To ask for your hand

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Il pleut, il pleut, bergère © 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
J'ai du bon tabac © French Moments
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
Ô gai, vive la rose © French Moments
Passe passe passera © French Moments
Pirouette Cacahuète © French Moments
Plantons la vigne © French Moments
Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api © French Moments
Pomme, pêche, poire, abricot © French Moments
Promenons-nous dans les bois © French Moments
Savez-vous planter les choux ? © French Moments
Sur la route de Dijon © French Moments
Sur la route de Louviers © French Moments
Sur le pont d'Avignon © French Moments
Sur le pont du nord © French Moments
Tout va très bien madame la marquise © French Moments
Trois jeunes tambours © French Moments
Un éléphant ça trompe énormément © French Moments
Un kilomètre à pied © French Moments
Un, deux, trois, nous irons au bois © French Moments
Une chanson douce © French Moments
Une poule sur un mur © French Moments
Une souris verte © French Moments
V'la le bon vent © French Moments
Voici le mois de mai © French Moments
Y avait dix filles dans un pré © French Moments
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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