Words: "Puer Nobis Nascitur," Authorship Unknown,
Trier MS, 15th Century And Others
Translations: See Below
See: Theodoric Petri, ed., Piae Cantiones Ecclesiasticę Et Scholasticae Et Scholasticae Vetervm Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdię: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582).
Source: Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pię Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910) , #11, p. 15. See: Christmas Songs in Woodward's Pię Cantiones (1910)
1. Puer nobis nascitur
In hoc mundo panditur Dominus Dominorum,
2. In pręsepe positum
Sub fno asinoum
Cognouerunt Dominum Christum Regem clorum.
3. Hunc Herodes timuit
Magno cum tremore,
In infantes irruit Hos cędens in furore.
4. Qui natus ex Maria
Duc nos tua gratia Ad gaudia superna.
5. Te saluator α & ω*
Cantemus in choro,
Cantemus in organo, Benedicamus Domino.
* Greek Characters Alpha and Omega.
In verse 1, line 1, Woodward has angelorū as the last word. I have replaced this with the word angelorum. The bar over the last letter indicated an omitted letter, a common medieval technique. As it is less common in these days, I have given the full word.
Theodoric Petri, ed., Pię Cantiones Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdię: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582)
Sheet Music and Notes from Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pię Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song, chiefly Ancient Swedish, originally Published in A. D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Nyland. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910), Carol #11, p. 15, Notes pp. 222-223 (below).
Sheet Music to Unto Us A Child Is Born, "Carol for Children," from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #56, p. 88.
Harmonized by H. R. Schrder"
Sheet Music to
Unto Us Is Born A Son from George Ratcliffe Woodward,
The Cowley Carol
Book for Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd.,
1902, Revised and Expanded
Edition 1929), Carol #25
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Sheet Music to Unto Us Is Born A Son from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #29
Sheet Music to Unto Us Is Born A Son - Version 2 from Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)
Sheet Music to To All Men A Child Is Come (Puer nobis nascitur), Translation by the Rev. J. O'Connor, from Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #32, p. 44.
There seems to be an issue regarding the third verse where the first two lines of the verse appear to be missing ("Hinc Herodes timuit, Magno cum tremore.")
Other versions on this web site:
Puer nobis nascitur - Mone (1853)
A Child For Us is Born This Day - Translator Unknown; from Shipley, Annus Sanctus (1884)
To All Men A Child Is Come - From Richard R. Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols, et al.
Unto Us A Boy Is Born - Translated by the Percy Dearmer, The Oxford Book of Carols, #92, copyright 1928
Unto Us A Boy Is Born - Translated by Editors, The New Oxford Book of Carols, copyright 1992
Unto Us A Child Is Born - Translated by John Fulton from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young
Unto Us Is Born A Son - Translated by George Ratcliffe Woodward, 1859-1934
Unto Us Is Born A Son - Translated by G. R. Woodward, alt.
Unto Us Is Born A Son - Translator: G. R. Woodward, adapted by Elizabeth Poston, The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols, copyright 1965
Note by Rev. George R. Woodward, XI. Puer Nobis Nascitur, from Pię Cantiones (1910), pp. 222-223.
At Christmas instead of Benedicamus Domino. Mone, I, No. 48, p. 64, reprints this carol from a fifteenth-century MS., No. 724 in the Stadtbibliothek at Trier [T].
Wackernagel, I, Nos. 327-331, gives five versions:
(i) from the Trier library [T];
(ii) from a MS. at München, Cod. Lat. 5023, fifteenth century [M];
(iii) from Christ. Adolf's printed book of 1542 [A];
(iv) from J. Spangenberg of 1544 [S];
(v) from J. Leisentrit, 1567 [L];
besides later forms found in the Speier, Mainz, and Paderborn song-books.
[Editor's Note: there seems to be a difference in Wackernagel's text from the above. See: Puer nobis nascitur - Wackernagel]
Dreves ('Analecta Hymnica,' I, p. 43) mentions the fact that Puer nobis nascitur occurs
(i) in the Hohenfurth MS. of 1410 [H]; and
(ii) in the Wittingau MS. of 1459 [W].
Again the great number of variations testifies to the wide use of this favourite Cantio. The order of the stanzas is irregular, and the number of verses ranges from four to seven.
Comparing Pię Cantiones with the older versions:
In Stanza I, P. C. reads panditur; but all the other authorities have pascitur, except Adolf, which prefers patitur.
Stanza II. P. C. reads positum, the rest ponitur; Leisentrit and the later books omit sub before fęno asinorum.
For Stanza III. For Hunc in P. C. and L, T, M, W, A, and S read Hinc; M has Quem. P. C., S, H, and W read Magno cum tremore, but M and T have dolore; L, timore; A, liuore.
Unlike the rest, P. C. reads In infantes irruit, but T has Et pueros occidit infantes cum liuore; M, Infantes et pueros occidit tum cruore; H, Infantesque puerulos; A and S have Occidit cum dolore; and L, necat prę dolore.
Stanza IV. W and A read Qui natus de virgine; T, M, and S, Qui natus est ex maria; L has Puer natus in Bethlehem; W has perduc nos cum gracia; T, ducat nos cum gracia; M, producat nos ad gaudia | cum gracia superna; A and S, perducat nos.
Stanza V. H reads Alpha, I & E & O (thrice); M has A & I & E & O; T reads O & A et A & O; A has Castemus in choro; S, Canimus in choro; T, M, and S, Cum cantibus in choro | cum canticis et organo; and A, in chordis et organo.
These variants have not been compared with the manuscripts above quoted, but are here printed on the authority of Mone, Wackernagel, and Dreves, assuming their details to be correct.
In Rhezelius (1619), p. 33, the Pię Cantiones form of the tune is repeated with the Swedish words Itt Barn år osz nu hår fņdt.
The melody is in the Lydian mode with B moll, practically the modern major scale. Various forms of the Tune are to be seen in Zahn, I, No. 1569 a and b, and in Meister, I (No. 38).
Johannes Zahn, Die Melodien deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder. Erster Band. (Gutersloh: Bertelsmann, 1889), No. 1569 a and b, p. 412.
Karl Severin Meister, Das Katholische Deutsche Kirchenlied. Erster Band. (Freiburg: Berlagshandiung, 1862), No. 38, p. 206.
Wilhelm Bäumker, Das Katholische Deutsche Kirchenlied. Erster Band. (Friburg: Berlagshandiung, 1886), No. 95, pp. 351-352.
(i) Michael Prętorius, 'Mus. Sion,' VI (1609), No. xliv, ą 4;
(ii) 'Sirenes Symphonię,' Cöln (1678), as given by Meister, I, App. ii, No. 33;
(iii) 'The Cowley Carol Book' (1902), No. 25, where it is set to English words, a translation of Pię Cantiones.
Sheet music to "Unto Us Is Born A Son" ("Puer nobis nascitur") From Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, #25, p. 37.
Geborn ist Gottes Sönelein (iambic 22.214.171.124), (see M. Prętorius, 'Mus. Sion.,' 1609, and 'The Cowley Carol Book,' No. 21), is a corrupt following of the older melody. Puer nobis nascitar is best known in Germany as Uns ist geborn ein Kindelein.
Sheet music to "The Son Of God Is Born For All" ("Geborn ist Gottes Sönelein") From Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, #21, p. 32.
Some of the Latin lyrics above are found in:
Hermann Adalbert Daniel, ed., Theosaurus Hymnologicus sive Hymnorum. Vol. 4. (J.T. Loeschke, 1855), p. 258, citing Mone. See: Puer nobis nascitur - Mone (1853).
J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #56, p. 88. See: Puer nobis nascitur - Hopkins (1887)
F. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, I (Freiburg im Breisgau, Herder'sche Verlagshandlung, 1853). #48, p. 64. He also noted: "Hs. der Stadtbibliothek zu Trier No 724 mit er Melodie. 15. Jahrh." See: Puer nobis nascitur - Mone (1853).
Nicola A. Montani, ed., The St. Gregory Hymnal and Catholic Choir Book (1920), No. 159, p. 246. See: Puer Nobis Nascitur - St Gregory's Hymnal (1920).
Philipp Wackernagel, Das deutsche kirchenlied von der ältesten zeit bis zu anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts (1864), #327-#331, pp. 204-206. Wackernagel gives five versions from a number of sources. See: Puer nobis nascitur - Wackernagel (1864).
Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pię Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910) , #11, p. 15. With notes. [This page]
Mention was made of Dreves, I, Cantiones Bohemicae. This was a note only; there were no verses printed. I did not find this hymn in Vol. 45a or 45b, either.
Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume, eds., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 1. Cantiones Bohemicae. (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1886), Note on p. 43: "Puer nobis nascitur AN. -- Wackernagel No. 329. Strophen 1. 2. 5. 3 A. 1. 3. 2. 4 N. -- Varianten: 3, 1 Tunc Herodes A. 3, 3 Infantesque puerulos A. - 4, 1 Qui natus de virgine N. 4, 4 Perduc nos. N. -- 5, 1-3 Alpha I et E et 0, dreimal A. -."
Neither does this hymn occur in G. E. Klemming, ed., Piae Cantiones. S. Trinitas. Iesus Christus. S. Spiritus. S Maria. (1886).
The tune in "What Star Is This, With Beams So Bright" is "Puer nobis nascitur" from Trier, Germany, 15th Century, adapted by Michael Praetorius, 1609, with harmony by George Ratcliffe Woodward in The Cowley Carol Book.
Sources of Latin hymns found in Piae Cantiones:
Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume, eds., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 1. Cantiones Bohemicae. (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1886).
Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume, eds., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 45b. Cantiones et Motetten des Mittelalters. (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1904).
G. E. Klemming, ed., Piae Cantiones. S. Trinitas. Iesus Christus. S. Spiritus. S Maria. (1886). Primary source for many scholars, including Dreves, Woodward and others.
George Ratcliffe Woodward, Piae Cantiones: A Collection of Church & School Song, chiefly Ancient Swedish, originally published in A.D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Hyland. (London: Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910).
Sheet music for some hymns can be found in George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, First & Second Series. Table Of Contents. (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1902, 1912).
Translations of some carols can be found in John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, eds., Carols for Christmas-tide (London: Novello, 1853). By the same authors was Carols for Easter-tide (1854).
Translations and sheet music for some hymns can be found in Charles L. Hutchins, ed., Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916).
The complete score of Rev. George R. Woodward's edition of Pię Cantiones, scanned and compiled into a PDF file, is available from the IMSLP-Petrucci Music Library: Pię_Cantiones.
If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.