The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Boy is Born in Bethlehem

For Christmas and Circumcision

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

Translation:  Father Henry Ignatius D. Ryder, Birmingham Oratory, 1883
A Boy is Born in Bethlehem, with sheet music

Source: Orby Shipley, Annus Sanctus: Hymns of the Church for the Ecclesiastical Year. Vol. 1. (London and New York: Burns and Oates, 1884), pp. 27-28.

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

Meter: 8,8

A Boy is born in Bethlehem, 
Joy bringing to Jerusalem. 

He lieth in a manger poor 
Whose kingdom shall for aye endure. 

The ox and ass knowing adored 
The Infant, that was Christ the Lord. 

The kings of Saba come and bring 
Gold, myrrh and incense to their king. 

The offspring he of Virgin bright, 
Made Mother only by heaven's might 

One after one the cot forlorn 
Entering, they hail their prince new-born. 

The serpent's venom knows him not, 
Though of our blood his own he got : 

Made like to us in human kin, 
Unlike us in respect of sin. 

That like him he might make us be, 
And with himself and God agree. 

In this birth's joy let all accord, 
And bless for ever Christ the Lord. 

Glory and everlasting praise 
To thee, O Virgin-born, always. 

Note from Shipley:

#27. Puer natus in Bethlehem. From the Mayence Hymnary. A Boy is born in Bethlehem. Father Ryder, 1883.

Editor's Note:

A similar hymn translated by Percy Dearmer from 16th Century German begins:

A Boy was born in Bethlehem,
Rejoice for that, Jerusalem!

The translation can be found in the Oxford Book of Carols, and is copyright 1928.

Another hymn by Catherine Baird has this first verse:

A boy was born in Bethlehem
With tiny hands and downy head;
The shepherds came to worship him
Asleep within a manger bed.

See: A Boy Was Born in Bethlehem-Baird

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