The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Unto Us Is Born A Son

For Christmas

Version 1

Words: "Puer Nobis Nascitur," Authorship Unknown, Trier MS, 15th Century
Translator: George Ratcliffe Woodward, 1859-1934

Compare: Unto Us Is Born A Son - Version 2
Unto Us A Child Is Born

Music: Puer Nobis Nascitur, Anonymous, 15th Century
Meter: 7777

Source: 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.

1. Unto us is born a son,
King of choirs1 supernal:
See on earth his life begun,
Of lords the Lord eternal.

2. Christ, from heav'n descending low,
Comes on earth a stranger;
Ox and ass their Owner know
Now cradled2 in a manger.

3. This did Herod sore affray,
And did him3 bewilder,
So he gave the word to slay,
And slew the little childer.

4. Of his love and mercy mild
Hear4 the Christmas story:
O5 that Mary's gentle Child
Might lead us up to glory!

5.6 O and A and A and O,
Cantemus in choro,
Voice and organ, sing we so,
Benedicamus Domino.

Footnotes:

Also found in G. R. Woodward, ed., The Hymns and Carols for Christmas-tide (London: H. Grice, 1897), Carol # , p. with these noted differences:

1. King of Quires supernal. 

2. Becradled in a manger. 

3. And grievously bewilde.

4. This the Christmas story: 

5. And oh that Mary's gentle Child.

6. A different verse 5:

O & A and A & O,
Cum cantibus in choro,
Let our merry organ go
Benedicamus Domino.

Sheet Music 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 from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #29

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

This carol is a loose translation of the Latin song Puer Nobis Nascitur. This song was used in the medieval liturgy and was found in the 14th century German manuscript, the Moosburg Gradual, in a 15th century Trier manuscript and in the 16th century Finnish collection Piae Cantiones. The English translation used here was made by Percy Dearmer for the 1928 The Oxford Book of Carols. Another commonly used translations is by G. R. Woodward.

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