Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Riu Riu

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Riu Riu

Riu Riu

Cho: Riu, riu chiu                [nightingale sounds]
     La guarda ribera             The river bank protects it
     Dios guarde el lobo
As God kept the wolf from our lamb.
     De nuestra cordera,
El lobo rabioso                   The rabid wolf tried to bite her
La quiso morder,                  But God Almighty knew how to defend her.
Mas Dios poderso                  He wished to create her impervious to sin
La supo defender,                 Nor was this maid to embody original sin.

Quizole hazer que
No pudiesse pecar,
Ni aun original
Esta uirgen no tuuiera.

     Ru, riu, etc.                 Ru, riu, etc.
Este qu'es nascido                He who is born in the great King,
Es el gran monarcha,              Christ, God made flesh.
Christo patriarcha                He has redeemed us by making
De carne uestido,                       Himself as a child

Hanos redimido                     Although everlasting, He made himself

Con se hazer chiquito,                  finite.
Aunque era infinito,
Finito se hiezir.

      Riu, riu, etc.                    Riu, riu, etc.
Este uiene a dar                  He comes to gve life to the dead
A los muertos uida,               He comes to redeem the fall of man;

Y uiene a reparar                 This child is the light of day,
De todos la cayda,                He is the very lamb St John prophesied
Es la luz del dia
Aqueste  mocuelo,
Este es el cordero
Que San Juan dixera.

      Riu, riu, etc.                   Riu, riu, etc.

"Riu Riu" was introduced by the old New York Pro Musica about 1954.
Their arrangement is now a standard for many a cappella choirs,
especially at Christmas season. The liner notes say the Spanish song was
printed in a 1556 Venice collection and it's probably from the
late 15th century. They use a 15th century Spanish pronunciation
which sounds like Latin to unlettered me. It's a "villancico", a
courtly development of a rustic style.  The "villancico"
survives, but only as this one, relating to the Nativity. AS

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