The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

 Earthly Friends Will Change And Falter

For Christmas Day

Latin Text: Omnis mundus jocundetur

Words: 14th Century, freely translated by Rev. John Mason Neale.

Music: Music: Rev. Thomas Helmore, Piae Cantiones, 1582.
First Tune: Melody of Omnis mundus iucundetur, of XIV Cent. Harmonized by the Rev. G. R. Woodward. Second Tune: A setting by M. Praetorius (Mus. Syon.), A. D. 1607

Source: Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), from John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, Carols for Christmas-tide (London: Novello, 1853).

Notes: George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, 1902, Revised and Expanded Edition 1929), Carol #28

Earthly friends will change and falter,
    Earthly hearts will vary:
He is born that cannot alter,
    Of the Virgin Mary.
        Born to-day, Raise the lay:
        Born to-day, Twine the bay:
Jesus Christ is born to suffer,
        Born for you:
        Born for you: Holly strew:
Jesus Christ was born to conquer,
        Born to save:
        Born to save: Laurel wave:
Jesus Christ was born to govern,
        Born a King:
        Born a King: Bay-wreaths bring:
Jesus Christ was born of Mary,
        Born for all!
        Well befall Hearth and hall!
Jesus Christ was born at Christmas,
        Born for all.

Sheet Music from John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, Carols for Christmas-tide: The Condensed Vocal Parts (London: Novello, 1854), pp. 7-8.

Earthly_friends-Cond_Vocal-01.jpg (84311 bytes) Earthly_friends-Cond_Vocal-02.jpg (82945 bytes)

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, 1902, Revised and Expanded Edition 1929), Carol #28

First Tune

Second Tune

The Michael Praetorius arrangement is widely found. A copy of his arrangement is found in David Willcocks, ed., Carols for Choirs 3. This translation is also available at the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL), Omnis Mundus Jocundetur.

Sheet Music from Rev. J. Freeman Young, ed., Carols for Christmas Tide (New York: Daniel Dana, Jr., 1859), #5.

Note From Rev. Neale.

In the notes to the first carol, "Here Is Joy For Every Age," Rev. Neale noted: "A translation, or free imitation, as are most (in this collection.)" In the Preface to the First Edition, Rev. Neale wrote that only Good King Wenceslas and Toll! Toll! are original.

Editor's Note:

Another translation is Let The Earth Rejoice In Chorus from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #167, pp. 16-17, also from Piae Cantiones, 1582.

This was one of two carols performed by a choir of boys from Advent Church, Boston, on Dec. 25, 1860. The other carol was the John Freeman Young translation "Silent Night, Holy Night." Both carols appeared in Rev. Young's pamphlet, Carols for Christmas Tide, published the previous year in New York. To see the newspaper account of this caroling, please see "Silent Night, Holy Night."

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