Dans votre lit

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DANS VOTRE LIT. English, Air (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Rook): AAB (Livingston). The melody appears in several London-published instrumental tutors of the last two decades of the 18th century, published by the firms of Preston and Cahusac, but then it seems to disappear (save for an 1817 printing in New York in Riley's Flute Melodies, vol. 2). A correspondent in Notes and Queries (Aug. 7, 1858, p. 111) remarked and asked:

"Dans votre lit." Between fifty and sixty years ago, in the social days of an early dinner, an agreeable family rubber [cards], and a light supper, I can well remember the pleasant custom of a cheerful song from many of the company before the final beak up of the innocent domestic party assembled. Amongst many other songs, at that period obtaining, there was a fashionable little canzonet called "Dans votre lit!"

In those cheerful days this little madrigal was prominent; but time has rendered it obsolete and I cannot find any one who can tell me the words of the two stanzas following the first verse. Perhaps some of your numerous readers (of the olden time) might happen to them. The first verse I remember was:--

Dans votre lit, that bright parterre,
Where blooms the rose and lily fair,
A smiling jonquil I would be.
To bloom sweet flower, beside of thee,
Dans votre lit, dance votre lit.

The entire song, with music (set in B Flat) was entered into the latter 18th century music manuscript book of American Henry Livingston, a patrician landowner in Dutchess County, New York. The are quite forgettable, and it is no wonder the song died relatively quickly. His version goes:

Dans votre lit my Fanny say,
Where past the busy hours of day,
Say and let my happy be,
To find you sometimes think of me.

CHORUS:
Dans votre lit, dans votre lit,
Dans votre lit, dans votre lit.

For whether absent or in view
My thoughts are fondly bent on you.
When in my dreams I'm full of glee
And in my arms embracing me.
Dans votre lit, etc.

But soon as dawn appears my fair,
The blissful visions lost in air,
Consent and you shall quickly see
I will make it sweet reality.
Dans votre lit, etc.

The soft confession make my fair,
And with it glad my raptur'd ear,
And in return I'll swear to thee,
Ten thousand words I'd give to be.
Dans votre lit. etc.

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