The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Puer Natus in Bethlehem

For Christmas and Epiphany
A Dialogue Between the Priest and the People.

Words and Music: A 14th Century Latin Hymn.

See: Puer natus in Bethlehem - from Piæ Cantiones, with notes and links to translations.

Source: “Puer natus in Bethlehem,” pp. 81-83, from "The Old Hymns and Lays, Sacred and Profane, especially of Germany down to the Time of Luther," in The Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review, Volume 1, Issue 1. (London: Whittaker and Co., 1843), pp. 57-100.

Editor's Note:

A unique version of Leisentrit's version of Puer natus in Bethlehem was found by an editor of the Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review in the context of an article concerning “The Old Hymns and Lays” up to the time of Luther. In discussing Latin hymns, the author chose " ... a rare variation, unknown to Wackernagel, of the famous hymn 'Puer natus in Bethlehem.' "

The author noted that the Latin and German translations of each verse were sung alternately by the Priest and the People. The Priest sang the Latin verse and the People answered with the German translation.

1. Priest:
Puer natus in Bethlehem,
                Bethlehem ,
Unde gaudet Jerusalem,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Ein Kind geboren zu Bethlehem,
                Bethlehem,
Des frewet sich Jerusalem,
                Alle, alleluia.

 

2. Priest:
Hic jacet in præsepio
                præsepio,
Qui regnat sine termino,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Hie liegt es in dem Krippelein,
                Krippelein,
Allein so ist die herrschafft sein,
                Alle, alleluia.

 

3. Priest:
Cognovit bos et asinus
                asinus,
Quod puer erat Dominus,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Das Ochslein vnd das Eselein,
                Eselein,
Sie erkanten Gott den Herren sein,
                Alle, alleluia.

 

4. Priest:
Reges de Saba veniunt,
                veniunt,
Aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Die König von Saba kamen dar,
                kamen dar,
Golt, Weurauth, Myrrhen Brachten sie dar,
                Alle, Alleluia.

 

5. Priest:
Intrantes domum invicem,
                invicem,
Novum salutant Principem,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Sic tratten in das Häuselein,
                Häuselein,
Sie grussten Gott den Herren scin,
                Alle, alleluia.

 

6. Priest:
Laudetur sancta Trinitas,
                Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias,
                Alle, alleluia.

People:
Vor solche gnadenriche zeit,
                reiche zeit,
Sey Gott gelobt in ewigkeit,
                Alle, alleluia.

Note:

The author then cited as his source "a scarce work" entitled Cithara Spiritualis sex Chordarum, &c. &c. Per R. P. F. Wilh. Honium, Ord S. Benedicti congesta. Coloniæ Agrippinæ, MDCXXXVII [1637]. 16 mo. Chorda sexta, p 277.

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