Riu riu, chiu is a villancico (a courtly song form emulating rustic dances) printed in a 1556 Venetian collection.
An arrangement created by the New York Pro Musica circa 1954 is now a popular standard performed by many a cappella choirs, especially during the Christmas season.
Performed here by the Nashville Early Music Ensemble at Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, TN.
Riu, riu chiu / [nightingale sounds]
La guarda ribera / The river bank protects it
Dios guarde el lobo / As God kept the wolf
De nuestra cordera, / From our lamb.
El lobo rabioso / The rabid wolf
La quiso morder, / Tried to bite her
Mas Dios poderso / But God Almighty knew
La supo defender, / How to defend her.
Quizole hazer que / He wished to create her
No pudiesse pecar, / Impervious to sin
Ni aun original / Without Original Sin
Esta uirgen no tuuiera. / The virgin was born.
Este qu’es nascido / He who is born
Es el gran monarcha, / Is the Great King,
Christo patriarcha / Christ, God
De carne uestido, / Made flesh.
Hanos redimido / He has redeemed us
Con se hazer chiquito,/ By making Himself a child
Aunque era infinito, / Although everlasting,
Finito se hiezir. / He made himself finite
Este uiene a dar / He comes to give life
A los muertos uida, / To the dead
Y uiene a reparar / He comes to redeem
De todos la cayda, / The fall of man;
Es la luz del dia / He is the light of day,
Aqueste mocuelo, / This child
Este es el cordero / He is the lamb
Que San Juan dixera. / St John prophesied.