The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Dulci Jubilo, Now Lat Vs Sing With Myrth And Jo

For Christmas

Words and Music: Scottish Traditional
See Notes Concerning In Dulci Jubilo

Source: John Wedderburn, A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs Commonly Known as 'The Gude and Godlie Ballatis.' Reprinted from the Edition of 1567, A. F. Mitchell, ed. (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1897), p. 53.

IN dulci Jubilo, Now lat vs sing with myrth and Jo
Our hartis consolatioun lyis in præsepio,
And schynis as the Sone, Matris in gremio,
Alpha es et O, Alpha es et O.
O Jesu pervule ! " I thrist sore efter thé,
Confort my hart and mynde,
O puer optime,
God of all grace sa kynde, et princeps gloriæ
Trahe me post te, Trahe me post te.
Ubi sunt gaudia
, in ony place bot thair,
Quhair that the Angellis sing Nova cantica,
Bot and the bellis Ring in regis curia,
God gif I war thair, God gif I war thair.


The editor of this volume, A. F. Mitchell, had this note concerning this song at pp. 250-1:

P. 53. In dulci Jubilo.—One of the most joyous and best-known carols of the medieval Church, and in that mixture of Latin and vernacular which, under the influence of Henry of Loufenburg and others, became popular in Germany in the century before the Reformation. Wackernagel traces it back to the fifteenth century, and gives four versions of it from MSS. of that date (vol. ii. pp. 483, &c.). The first of these (No. 640) consists of six stanzas, the first three of which are, with slight variations, similar to the text the Scottish poet had before him, and to that followed in some of the earlier Lutheran hymnals; the fourth, which ultimately was transferred into the third place, was not deemed suited for Protestant worship, but at last it too was so altered as to be allowed a place in Lutheran hymnals. I give the verse in both forms :—

"Mater et filia
O iwngfraw Maria,
Hettest du uns nicht erworben coelorum gaudia,
So wer wir all verlorben
per nostra crimina,
O quanta gratia!
O quanta gratia!"
"O Patris charitas,
O Nati lenitas,
Wir weren all verloren per nostra crimina,
So hat er uns erworben
coelorum gaudia;
Eya wer wir da!
Eya wer wir da!"

Miss Winkworth in her ' Christian Singers of Germany ' (pp. 94, 95) gives a translation of it into English, and states that it has been attributed, but erroneously, to Peter Dresdensis, who was rector of Zwickau, and whose chief service in hymnology lay in the strenuous efforts he made to introduce hymns in the vernacular more freely into public worship. He had no doubt, she says, been led to this by his acquaintance with Hus, whose assistant he had been, and one of the distinctive peculiarities of whose followers was their "free use of hymns and prayers in their mother-tongue." In 1504 these hymns were collected and published—"the first example of a hymn-book, composed of original hymns in the vernacular, to be found in any Western nation," though somewhat earlier two or three collections of German versions of the Latin hymns and sequences made their appearance.

Edith Rickert modernized the language of this version in In Dulci Iubilo - Version 8, from Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1910, 1914), pp. 206-7; (First Line: Now let us sing with mirth and joy).

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