The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The ffather of heuyn from aboue
Te deum Laudamus

Words: James Ryman, Order of Friars Minor (ca. 1492)

Te deum Laudamus
te dominum confitemur

The ffather of heuyn from a-boue
Hathe sent his son to owr behoue
Whom all erthe is bownde to loue
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Bothe heuyn & erthe in there degre
Angelles with heuynly poteste
With all ther my3th they syng to the
    Te deum Laudamus &c

The Cherubyns cry Incessantly
And the seraphyns with voyce on hye
Euermore holy holy holy
    Te deum Laudamus &c

O Lorde god Sabaothe so swete
Heuyn & erthe bothe be replete
Withe thi powre in euery sete
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Appostles profettes & martirs bright
Thi holy name praysyng both day & nyght
To the thei syng as it is right
    Te deum Laudamus &c

All holy churche with armony
Tunably sett dothe magnyfy
Thy holy name Incessantly
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Thu arte the ffather moste of myght
Thy son Iesus truly be hight
The holy gost shynyng full bright
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Thu arte the son of great gladnes
Thy father son by thy mekenes
Vs to redeme to owre lyknes
    Te deum Laudamus &c

ffor thi giftes many-a-folde
Benyng to thy seruauntes both yong & olde
To syng to the we be beholde
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Iesus vs saue owr comely kyng
ffrom the fendes both old & yong
Eternally that we may syng
    Te deum Laudamus &c

Note: This is one of the four "Bradshaw" carols, discovered in the papers of Henry Bradshaw; the papers are at Cambridge University Library and are classified as MS. Add. 7350. The other Christmas-related carol has as the first line of its first verse: Of mary a mayde withowt lesyng. It has the same burden as this carol. The other two carols are described as of being of a ribald nature. See: Rossell Hope Robbins, "The Bradshaw Carols." PLMA, the Journal of the Modern Language Association, June 1966, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 308-310. See, generally, Rossell Hope Robbins, ed., Early English Christmas Carols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961. For additional information about Mr. Robbins (1912-1990) see: Russell A. Peck and Rosemary Paprocki, Rossell Hope Robbins. University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries, Rossell Hope Robbins Library. Last updated November 30, 2005. Accessed 19 March 2006. URL: Page opens in a new window at an exterior location.

Editor's Note:

The burden of this carol

Te deum Laudamus
    te dominum confitemur

is the opening words of the ancient Christian song of praise, Te Deum laudámus (often just "Te Deum"), often referred to as the Ambrosian Hymn, and originally attributed to Saint Ambrose (c. 340 – 4 April 397) and Saint Augustine (354-430). It is now credited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (4th century).

The phrase is translated as

O God, we praise Thee:
    we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.

See Te Deum in the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum at the Treasury of Latin Prayers. Also see Te Deum at EWTN.

The Book of Common Prayer translates the Burden as:

We praise thee, O God :
    we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.

The Te Deum is regularly recited in the Daily Office in the Roman Catholic Church, and is sung at celebrations in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and some Lutheran Churches.

See the Wikipedia article at Te Deum.

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