The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Ten Versions of Puer Natus in Bethlehem from Philipp Wachernagel

Words and Music: Puer natus in Bethlehem, a 14th Century Latin Hymn
See Puer natus in Bethlehem from Dreves, with notes.

Music: "Puer Natus in Bethlehem"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Meter: 8,8

Source: Philipp Wackernagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied, Vol. 1, (Leipzig: Druct und Berlag von B. G. Leubner, 1864), #309-318, pp. 198-202.

With Supplemental Text and Music from Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609; 10 tunes are represented. In the 1628 edition, there are only 3 tunes. See: Das Paderborner Gesangbuch, 1628.

Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609 contains 10 versions of Puer Natus in Bethlehem, with music for each one. There are seven texts in Latin and German, one text in German only, and two texts in Latin only. Two of the Latin texts are included in Wackernagel, leaving seven new Latin texts in this edition.

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Version 1, #309, p. 198.

309. Natalis domini

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem
Unde gaudet Ierusalem.

2. Hic iacet in praesepio
Qui regnat sine termino.

3. Cognovit bos et azinus
Quod puer erat dominus.

4. Reges de Saba veniunt,
Aurum, thus, mirran offerunt.

5. Intrantes domum invicem
novum salatant principem

6. Ergo nostra concio
benedicamus domino.

Editor's Note.

Wackernagel appears to cite two sources:

  1. Munchner cod. Lat. 2992, XV. Sæc. Blatt 236h: . . .

  2. Munchner cod. Lat. 5023. XV. Sæc. Blatt 51: . . .

 

Version 2, #310, p.  198

Heading:

Ein alt geistlich lied, von der geburt unsers Herrn und heilande Jesu Christi.

The content is the same as Herm. Adalbert. DanielTheasaurus Hymnologicus. Vol. I, (Halis: Sumptibus Eduardi Anton, 1841), #CCCCLXXX, p. 334. See: Puer Natus in Bethlehem-Daniel.

Wackernagel appears to cite Bal. Bapstisches Gesangbuch von 1545 (Valentine Bapst).

 

Version 3, #311, p. 198.

Citing Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609, the original text has 12 verses, pp. 26-28, but only six are given here. However, Wackernagel gives all 12 verses in #312, p. 199.

311. Natalis domini

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem
Unde gaudet Ierusalem.

2. Hic iacet in praesepio
Qui regnat sine termino.

3. De matre natus virgine
Sine virili semine.

4. In carne nobis similis
Peccato sed dissimilis.

5. Ut redderet nos homines
Deo et sibi similes.

6. Rogemus ergo puerum
ut placet nobis dominum.

Note:

Original text is Volume 2 of Das Paderborner Gesangbuch 1609, editor Maria Kohle, Studien und Quellen zue westfalischen Geschichte (Bonifatius, 1609).

 

Version 4, #312, p. 199.

Citing Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609. Original has 12 verses, Latin and German except for the 2nd verse, pp. 26-28.

312. Natalis domini

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem
Unde gaudet Ierusalem.

2. Hic iacet in praesepio
Qui regnat sine termino.

3. Cognovit bos et asinus,
Quod puer erat dominus.

4. Reges de Saba veniunt,
aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt.

5. Intrantes domum invicem
Novum salutant principem.

6. De matre natus virgine
Sine virili semine.

7. Sine serpentis vulnere
de nostro venit sanguine.

8. In carne nobis similis
Peccato sed dissimilis.

9. Ut redderet nos homines
Deo et sibi similes.

10. In hoc natali gaudio
benedicamus domino.

11. Gloria tibi, domine,
Qui natus es de virgine.

12. Laudetur sancta trinitas,
deo dicamus gratias.

Sheet Music from Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609, #13, Tune 1, pp. 26-28.

Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-12-p26.jpg (83636 bytes)  Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-12-p27.jpg (84919 bytes) Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-12-p28.jpg (88615 bytes)

Editor's Note:

Wackernagel cited Speierisches Gesangbuch von 1600. 12. Blatt 31h. He also noted that the text was in Das Paderborner Gesangbuch, 1609, 12. Additional texts and melodies are found on pp. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33. Texts are discussed in Wackernagel's footnote following the primary text. The common title is "Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609." The fuller citation is Maria Kohle, ed., Paderborner Gesangbuch 1609, Studien und Quellen zur westfälischen Geschichte. Volume 2. (Bonifatius, 1609).

A 1630 volume, Alte und Newe Geistliche Catholische, contains a number of 7 melodies and 6 texts. One of those, on pages 42-46, matches the general versification of this song, with a change or two as illustrated in verse 1:

Puer natus in Bethlehem, in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Ierusalem, Alle, alle, alle, alleluia.

This is very similar to the versions we've seen in Bapst and Leisentrit. Note that p. 43 in Alte und Newe is completely black; I've been unable to find any duplicate at this time.

 Alte und Newe, pp. 42-46

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Another melody is found at the bottom of p. 45, with the following first verse, only slightly different that the version on p. 42:

Puer natus in Bethlehem, in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Ierusalem, alle, alle, alleluja.

 

Version 5, #313, p. 199-200.

9 verses, 2 lines each.

Bel Luc. Loss. 1553 (that is, Lucas Lossius, 1553)

313. Natalis domini

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Hierusalem.

2. Assumpsit carnem filius
Dei patris altissimus.

3. Per Gabrielis nuncium 
Virgo concepit filium.

4. Tamquam sponsus de thalamo 
Processit matris utero. 

5. Et iacet in praesepio
Qui regnat sine termino.

6. Et angelus pastoribus
revelat, quod sit dominus.

7. Reges de longe veniunt,
Aurum, thus, myrham offerunt.

8. Intrantes domum inuicem
Deum salutant hominem.

9. Uni, trino, sempiterno
Benedicamus domino.

Lucas Lossius, Psalmodia (1553)

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Version 6, #314, p. 200.

Geystlide ? Leder und Bsalmen. Ragdeborch borch hans Balther, 1543

314. Benedicamus in die nativitatis Christi

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
unde gaudet Ierusalem.
Assumpsit carnem hominis
verbum patris altissimi,
Per Gabrielis nuncium
Virgo concepit filium.

2. Tanquam sponsus de thalamo
processit matris utero,
Et iacet in praesepio
qui regnat sine termino,
Et angelus pastoribus
revelat, quod sit dominus.

3. Magi de longe veniunt,
aurum, thus, mirrham osserunt.
Intrantes domum inuicem
novum salutant hominem.
Uni trino sempiterno
benedicamus domino.

Editor's Note: Wackernagel's Versions 6 and 7 are two of several versions with six lines in each verse. See also Hereford Breviary of 1505 (Henry Bradshaw Society, Vol. XXVI, 1903, p. 197, Part I, Puer Natus-Hereford Breviary). And also Das Paderborner Gesangbuch, 1609, #22, pp. 53-54. Tune #9, Puer natus in Bethlehem. Latin Only. 6 Verses of six lines each.

Das Paderborner 1609, 22 & 23.

Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-22-p53.jpg (79961 bytes) Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-23-p54.jpg (94224 bytes)

Version 7, #315, p. 200

"Alte und newe geistliche lieder und lobgesenge" durch Johann Spangenberg. Erfurt 1511. 8 Blatt B iiijb. Bier Reiben Noten. [Not certain about several of these characters; this volume hasn't yet been scanned and posted at Google Books or the Internet Archive. The "Alte und newe" volume mentioned above is a different book.]

315, Benedicamus

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
unde gaudet Ierusalem.
Assumpsit carnem filii
verbum patris altissimi,
Per Gabrielis nuncium
verbo concepit filium.

2. Tanquam sponsus de thalamo
processit matris utero,
Hic iacet in praesepio
qui regnat sine termino,
Cognovit bos et asinus,
quod puer esset dominus.

3. Reges de Saba veniunt,
aurum, thus, myrrham osserunt.
Intrantes domum invicem
novum salutant principem.
Uni trinoque domino
benedicamus domino.

Laudetur sancta trinitas,
deo dicamus gratias.

 

 

Version 8, #316, p. 200

Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609, #20, p. 49.

316, Natalis domini

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Hierusalem.

2. Assumpsit carnem filius
Dei patris altissimus.

3. Per Gabrielis nuncium 
Virgo concepit filium.

4. Tamquam sponsus de thalamo 
Processit matris utero. 

5. Uni trino sempiterno
benedicamus domino.

6. Unde semper angelicas
deo dicamus gratias.

Sheet Music from Das Paderborner Gesangbuch 1609, #20, p. 49.

Puer_Natus_Beth-Paderborner_GSB-1609-20-p49.jpg (84677 bytes)

As noted by Wackernagel, his #316 is in the Paderborner Gesangbuch 1609, #20 with the addition of:

Amor, amor, amor, amor, amor.
Quam dulcis est amor.

There is another similar song on page 46 of Alte und Newe (1630) with sheet music. Only the first verse is given:

Puer natus natus in Bethlehem
Unde gaudet gaudet Ierusalem,
Amor, amor, amor, amor, amor, amor, amor.
Amor, amor, quam dulcis es amor.

Alte und Newe (1630), p. 46.

Puer_natus-Alte_und_Newe-1630-p46.jpg (119973 bytes)

 

Version 9, #317, p. 201

Paderborner G. B. von 1609. 8. Seite 21.

317, Weyhenacht Gesang

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
unde gaudet Ierusalem.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
quam dulciter venis,
O deus amor.

2. Mater tua pudica virgo,
peperit natum te sine viro.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
matrem putam habes,
O deus amor.

3. In gremio filium posuit,
lachrymas præ gaudio profudit.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
solatium matris,
O deus amor.

4. Ioseph, da fœni manipulum,
ut sternam filio lectulum:
Deus amor, O deus amor,
his lectulus tuus,
O deus amor.

5. Pannis involvit puerlum
et condidit in præsepium:
Deus amor, o deus amor,
præsepium colis,
O deus amor.

6. Matrem aspexit infantulus
patremque vultu blandulus.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
dulcedo parentum, 
O deus amor.

7. Ioseph astantem attonitum
amor tenebat et gaudium.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
lætilia patris, 
O deus amor.

8. Cor positum in præsepio
dilectulo tradidit filio.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
tibi vivo, tibi morior, 
O deus amor.

9. O Bethlehem durissima,
tuo regi negas cunabula.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
abiectio plebis,
O deus amor.

10. Quid virgo mater in stabulo
agnoscit deum in filio.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
quis digne te colat,
O deus amor.

11. Hunc adoravit humiliter
et oscula figit suaviter.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
delitae matris, 
O deus amor.

12. Precare filium, Maria,
nobis ut remittat delicta.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
fac sis amor noster, 
O deus amor.

Editor's Note:

Sheet Music from Alte und Newe Geistliche Catholische (Zinck, 1630), pp. 52-56, with melodies on pages 52 & 53.

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There are a few differences in the verses in Alte und Newe:

Verse 5. First line only:

5. Pannis inuoluit infantulum,

Verse 8.

Cor positum in Præsepio
dilecto tradit filio.
Deus amor, o deus amor,
Quis dignus te colit,  
O deus amor.

Verse 10.

En virgo mater in stabulo
Agnoseit Deum in parundo,
Deus amor, O Deus amor,
Fac sis amor noster,
O Deus Amor.

Verse 12.

Precare filium Maria,
Nobis remittat delicta
Deus amor, O Deus amor..
Tibi viuo tibi morior
Deus Amor

 

Version 10, #318, pp. 201-202.

Wackernagel apparently cites Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609, 12. Seite 56.

318, Natalis domini

1. Puer natus natus in Bethlehem,
unde gaudet gaudet Ierusalem.

2. Luget in cunis cunis infantulus,
qui simul erat cælorum dominus.

3. Offerunt reges divina munera
cælesti regi regi gratissima.

4. Pannis ligatur ligatur vilibus
qui cælum vestit vestit syderibus.

5. Ad matris pendet tenellus ubera,
cuius nos lactant misellos viscera.

6. Cernite læti ditem familliam,
cum Ioseph Mariam, bovem et asinum.

7. Magnas tibi debemus gratias,
quod, puer, nostras solvis miserias.

8. Ad matris ridet exultans oscula,
qui corde levat omni mœstitia.

9. Angeli canunt dulci cum iubilo,
cum deum cernunt matris in gremio.

10. Quomodo puer cælorum dominus,
quomodo pauper regum ditissimus?

11. Quomodo mutus vir facundissimus,
quomodo parvus gigas fortissimus?

12. Quomodo plorat cælorum gaudium,
quomodo friget solis incendium?

13. Si parvus sueris, placebis parvulo,
si servus sueris, placcebis servulo.

14. Quid ultra quæris, male sanus, gaudia,
quæ præbet mundus summa stultitia?

15. Hunc viæ ducem sequamur optimum,
qui cæli pandit subiectis ostium.

Sheet Music from Das Paderborner Gesangbuch von 1609, #24, pp. 56-58.

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