The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Congaudeat turba fidelium

For Christmas

Words and Music: Medieval Latin Hymn

See: Theodoric Petri, ed., Piae Cantiones Ecclesiastic Et Scholasticae Et Scholasticae Vetervm Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdi: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582).

Source: Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pi Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910) , #10, p. 14. See: Christmas Songs in Woodward's Pi Cantiones (1910).

Also found in Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume, eds., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 45b. Cantiones et Motetten des Mittelalters (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1904), #169.

1. Congaudeat turba fidelium,
Virgo mater peperit filium In Bethlehem.

2. Ad pastores descendit angelus,
Dicens eis: Natus est Dominus In Bethlehem.

3.Loquebantur pastores inuicem:
Transeamus ad nouum hominem In Bethlehem.

4. Ad prsaepe stant bos et asinus,
Cognouerunt quis esset Dominus In Bethlehem.

5.In octava dum circumciditur,
Nomen ei Iesus imponitur In Bethlehem.

6.Trini trino trina dant munera,
Regi regum sugenti vbera In Bethlehem.

7. Collyridas simul cum nectare
Benedicat Christus Rex glori, In Bethlehem.

Theodoric Petri, ed., Pi Cantiones Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdi: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582)

Sheet Music and Notes from Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pi 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 #10, p. 14, Notes pp. 220-222.

pc-220.jpg (85952 bytes) pc-221.jpg (65604 bytes) pc-222.jpg (89985 bytes)

See: The Christmas Songs in Woodward's Pi Cantiones (1910). Woodward's Notes have been transcribed and are reproduced below.

Sheet Music to From Church To Church from John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, Carols for Christmas-tide: The Condensed Vocal Parts (London: Novello, 1854), pp. 22-26.

From_church-Cond_Vocals-01.jpg (60213 bytes) From_church-Cond_Vocals-02.jpg (88137 bytes) From_church-Cond_Vocals-03.jpg (89301 bytes) From_church-Cond_Vocals-04.jpg (90894 bytes) From_church-Cond_Vocals-05.jpg (57258 bytes)

Sheet music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book for Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First & Second Series. (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1902, 1912). First And Second Tunes
First Tune: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Second Tune: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Sheet Music from Carol 679, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

From_Church_To_Church_679.gif (178405 bytes)

Sheet Music from Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #28, p. 35.

Sheet music Come Ye Faithful, Sing We Right Merrily from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #162, pp. 6-7.

162a-Come_Ye_Faithful.jpg (86016 bytes) 162b-Come_Ye_Faithful.jpg (62861 bytes)

Additional Tune from Woodward's Notes, p. 221.

Woodward's full Notes are below


Dreves cites Piae Cantiones 1582 fol. B 2 a. (Klemming II 17 als Hymnus.) - 4, 4 quis esset.

Editor's Note:

"Klemming II" refers to Gustaf Edvard Klemming, ed., Pi Cantiones. S. Trinitatas; Jesus Christus; S. Spiritus; S. Maria. Holmi. 1886.

Woodward's Notes to X. Congaudeat turba fidelium, 220-222.

A Christmas Trope on Benedicamus Domino. Two forms of this interesting carol, earlier than Pi Cantiones text, are extant.

(A) That printed by E. du Mril [also found as dlestand Pontas Dumril], II, p. 47, and thence reproduced by Neale in his 'Hymni ecclesi' (1851), p. 228, and by Daniel (1855), IV, p. 147. This occurs in an eleventh century MS., No. 1139, in the Bibl. Reg., Paris, f. 61, verso;

[The following text from du Mril does not occur in Woodward, but is inserted here in order to have both versions on the same page.]

1 Conguadeat turba fidelium!
natus est rex, Salvator omnium,
in Betleem.

2 Laudem coeli nuntiat angelus
et in terris pacem hominibus
in Betleem.

3 Loquebantur pastores invicem:
transeamus ad novum hominem
in Betleem.

4 In praesepe, et bos, et asinus
cognoverunt quod esset Dominus
in Betleem.

5 Tunc Herodes quaerit perimere,
quem deberet orandum quaerere
in Betleem.

6 In Aegyptum Maria filium
transfert, timens regis imperium
in Betleem.

7 Ex humana virgine nascitur,
quos (l. quo) nascente, gaudens efficitur

8 Benedicat plebs ergo virginem
Venter cujus coelorum pertilit

9 Rege nato, sidus exoritur;
quo pervio, regum conjungitur

10 Par est inter parem intentio;
pari quaerunt regem consilio,
quo liceat (l. iaceat?).

11 Regunt, intrant, regem reperiunt;
cui aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt,
et gratias.

M. du Mril has three footnotes on p. 47 and one footnote on p. 48. All are in French. Daniel's version is very faithful. The version by Neale seems to be correcting the text.


M. Edlestand du Mril, ed., Posies Populaires Latines du Moyen Age (Paris: Firmin Didot Frres, 1847), pp. 47-48.

Also found in Herm. Adalbert. Daniel, ed., Thesaurus Hymnologicus. Vol. 4 of 5. (Lipsiae: Sumptibus J. T. Loeschke, 1855), pp. 147-148. Daniel cites: De Nativitate Christi. Du Mril II. p. 47 sq. e cod. Bibl. Reg. 1139. saec. XI. fol. 61.

Also found in John Mason Neale, Hymni Ecclesi e Breviariis (Oxoni et Londini: Johannem Henricum Parker, 1851), pp. 228-229.

(B) That given by Amde Gastou in the 'Revue du Chant Gregorien,' Sept., 1902, p. 24. The latter is taken from an Antiphonale Missarum of the twelfth century (notation Aquitaine), once in use at the Church of St. Peter at Apt (Apta Julia), a city in the department of Vaucluse, about thirty miles E. of Avignon.

Gastou describes this particular carol as 'a delightful Cantilene, ancestor, probably, or at least one of the most ancient representatives of popular Nols.' Thanks to Mr. E. G. P. Wyatt, we are here able to print the Apt version of the words, and tune of this venerable Carol. See p. 221.

(A) 1 Congaudeat turba fidelium
natus est rex saluator omnium in betleem.

2 Laudem celi nunciat angelus,
et in terris pacem hominibus in betleem.

3 Loquebantur pastores inuicem,
transeamus ad nouurn hominem in betleem.

4 In presepe et bos et asinus
Cognouerunt quod esset dominus in betleem.

5 Tunc herodes querit perimere
quem deberet orandum querere in betleem.

6 In egyptum maria filium
transfert, timens regis imperium in betleem.

7 Ex humana virgine nascitur
quo nascente gaudens efficitur Iherusalem.

8 Benedicat plebs ergo virginem
venter cuius celorum pertulit artisicem.

9 Rege nato fydus exoritur
quo previo regum coniungitur societas. [MS. peruio]

10 Par est inter parem intentio [I. Pares?]
pari querunt regem consilio quo liceat. [I. quo iaceat?]

11 * Regnunt, intrant, regem reperiunt, * [1. adsunt?]
cui aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt et gracias.


(B) APT ANTIPHONALE (xij cent.)

(B) 1 En gaudeat turba fidelium
mater Virgo peperit filium in betleem.

2 [Same as A].

3 [Same as A and Pi Cant.].

4 Cui magi, notato sydere,
donant cum mystico munere in betleem.

5 Quem donantes munere mystico
benedicunt celorum domino in betleem.

6 [Same as A's fourth stanza].

7 [Same as A's sixth stanza].

8 Benedicta sint matris vbera
lactantia regem . . . in betleem,

9 Carnem nostram quam deo socias
tibi, virgo, redd[amus gracias] in betleem.

Comparison of the above with the Pi Cantiones version shows that stanzas 2, 5, 6, and 7 are peculiar to Petri's book.

The last stanza of Pi Cantiones requires notice:

Collyridas simul cum nectare
Benedicat Christus Rex glori in Bethlehem.

Collyrida was apparently a kind of Simnel cake, something like the French Pain beni. It was composed of coarse meal, and of sweet olive oil with honey; in shape, square or triangular. Collyridam panis quoddam genus esse memento (Alexander Poeta). The two following passages from Du Cange's 'Glossarium' (Paris, 1733), II, p. 770, prove that it was the custom at Christmas and Pentecost to distribute largesses in the forms of these bakemeats or Collyrid. It was, perhaps, a survival of the early Christian Agap. 'Item debet dare dictus dominus Abbas dicto conuentui in singulis festivitatibus . . . Pentecostes . . . triginta libras panis frumenti . . necnon nectar & colleridas sufficienter & semel duntaxat quolibet anno, & non in quolibet dictrum sestorum.' (Transactio inter Abbatem et Monachos Crassenses, anno 1351); and again, 'Item tenetur dare Pitantiarius in die Natalis Domini . . . tres coleridas siue mensas pro quacunque pitantia.' (In statutis S. Victoris, anno 1531).

It is interesting to compare the earlier free-rhythm form of the music-note (in the Dorian mode) as given by the Apt Antiphonale of the twelfth century with the later sixteenth century metrical version as it stands in Pi Cantiones.

In Rhezelius (1619), p. 47, the Pi Cantiones tune is accurately reproduced, let to the Swedish words Sigh gldia m alt menniskligh kn.

Neale has caught the spirit of this venerable old carol in his From Church To Church The Bells' Glad Tidings Run ('Carols for Christmas-tide,' 1853, No. VII). But unfortunately the music there was misinterpreted. For two correct settings, see 'The Cowley Carol Book' (1902), No. 7. [See above. Ed.]

Editor's Note:

The version reproduced by Rev. Woodward on p. 14 is the same as that found in Dreves, above, except for the highlighted text in verse four:

4. Ad prsepe stant bos et asinus,
Cognoverunt quis esset Dominus
in Bethlehem.

Also found in Richard R. Terry, 200 Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), #162, pp. 6-7. Terry reproduces the same version as Woodward.


Some sources of Latin hymns found in Piae Cantiones:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.