The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Puer Natus in Bethlehem

For Christmas and Epiphany.

Words and Music: A 14th Century Latin Hymn.

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

Source: Johann Leisentrit, Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (Wolrab, 1573), #44.I, p. 113.

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Hierusalem, Alle, Alleluia.

2. Hic iacet in præsepio, præsepio,
Qui regnat sine termino, Alle, Alleluia.

3. Cognovit bos & asinus, asinus,
Quòd puer erat dominus, Alle, Alleluia.

4. Reges de Saba veniunt, veniunt,
Aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt, Alle, Alleluia.

5. De matre natus virgine, virgine,
Sine virili semine, Alle, Alleluia.

6. Sine serpentis vulnere, vulnere,
De nostro venit sanguine, Alle, Alleluia.

7. In carne nobis similis, similis,
Peccato sed dissimilis, Alle, Alleluia.

8. Ut redderet nos homines, homines,
Deo & sibi similes, Alle, Alleluia.

9. In hoc natali gaudio, gaudio
Benedicamus domino, Alle, Alleluia.

10. Laudetur sancta Trinitas, Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias, Alle, Alleluia.

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)

Lyrics and Sheet Music from Max Herold, Vesperale Oder Die Nachmittage. I. (Gutersloch: Bertelsmann, 1885), pp. 199 (music), pp. 202-203 (Latin and German lyrics, 10 verses). Virtually identical to the versions in Bapst and Leisentrit.

Ein_kind-Harold-Vesperale-1885-p199.jpg (65966 bytes) Puer_natus-Herold-Vesperale_oder-p202.jpg (76505 bytes) Puer_natus-Herold-Vesperale_oder-p203.jpg (83305 bytes)

Editor's Note:

Leisentrit's text of 1573 is virtually identical to that of Valentin Babst in 1545 except in verse one where he gives “in Bethlehem, Bethlehem,” omitting the “in” prior to the repetition of “Bethlehem.” Also, he gives “Alle, Alleluia,” instead of “Halle, Halleluia.” See: Puer Natus in Bethlehem-Bapst. Johann Burg's version in 1860 is virtually identical with Leisentrit, except that he gives Bapst's "Halle..." as opposed to the Leisentrit "Alle..."

His last name is sometimes spelled "Leisentrit" (1 "t" at the end) and sometimes "Leisentritt" (2 "t"s at the end).

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 one " ... in 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. Thus:

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

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

And thus through the six verses given by the Author.

2. Hic jacet in praesepio

3. Cognovit bos et asinus

4. Reges de Saba veniunt,

5. Intrantes domum invicem,

6. Laudetur sancta Trinitas,

To see the full carol, please see: Puer natus - A Dialogue

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.

Leisentrit also has two versions of "Ein kind geborn in Bethlehem," #24.a. and b, pp. 71-73.

Ein_kind-Leisentrit-24-p71.jpg (103508 bytes) Ein_kind-Leisentrit-24-p72.jpg (109133 bytes) Ein_kind-Leisentrit-24-p73.jpg (119592 bytes)

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