Entertainment Music 'Au Clair de la Lune' Lyrics and Translation Share PINTEREST Email Print Chris Bernard / Getty Images Music World Music Genres & Styles Top Picks Top Artists Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Classical Music Country Music Folk Music Rap & Hip Hop Rhythm & Blues Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Megan Romer Updated June 21, 2018 "Au Clair de la Lune" is a popular French folk song that dates back to at least the mid-18th century. The melody is simple, which is why it is often used to teach children how to play an instrument, and the lyrics beautiful, whether sung in French or in English. Meaning of the Lyrics The song references characters from the French version of the Commedia dell'Arte, the theatrical comedy troupe established in Italy in the 16th-century. Pierrot is the French version of Pedrolino, and Harlequin is the French version of Arlecchino. We can presume that our unnamed lady is Columbina/Columbine. It's unknown whether the original version of the song used these characters' names, or whether they were added in later. French Lyrics Au clair de la luneMon ami PierrotPrete-moi ta plumePour écrire un mot. Ma chandelle est morteJe n'ai plus de feuOuvre-moi ta portePour l'amour de Dieu. Au clair de la lunePierrot reponditJe n'ai pas de plumeJe suis dans mon lit. Va chez la voisineJe crois qu'elle y estCar dans sa cuisineOn bat le briquet. Au clair de la luneL'aimable HarlequinFrappe chez la bruneElle repond soudain. Qui frappe de la sorte?Il dit a son tourOuvrez votre portePour le Dieu d'Amour. Au clair de la luneOn n'y voit qu'un peuOn chercha la plumeOn chercha du feu En cherchant d'la sorteJe ne sais ce qu'on trouvaMais je sais que la porteSur eux se ferma. English Translation In the light of the moon, Pierrot, my friendLoan me your pen to write something downMy candle's dead, I've got no flame to light itOpen your door, for the love of God! In the light of the moon, Pierrot repliedI don't have a pen, I'm in bedGo to the neighbor's, I think she's thereBecause someone just lit a match in the kitchen. In the light of the moon, likable HarlequinKnocked on the brunette's door, and she responded immediatelyWho's knocking like that? And he repliedOpen your door, for the God of Love! In the light of the moon, you can barely see anythingSomeone looked for a pen, someone looked for a flameIn all of that looking, I don't know what was foundBut I do know that those two shut the door behind them. Earliest Recording The earliest recording of this song also happened to be the earliest recording of any human voice, almost 20 years before Thomas Edison captured "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on what was essentially a piece of tinfoil. In March 2008, a 10-second recording was discovered in a Paris archive by a group of American historians. Apparently, the snippet was recorded on something called a phonautograph, a machine that could record sounds visually, but not play them back audibly. That is, until scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, converted the symbols laid down on paper into sound. And that sound was a female voice singing "Au Clair de la Lune."