The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Dulci Jubilo

Fourteenth-century German/Latin macaronic carol
Nun singet und seid froh by Heinrich Suso
See Good Christian Men, Rejoice, In Dulci Jubilo, and these notes.

Translation by Robert Lucas de Pearsall (1795-1856), 1837
In the version given by Hutchins (below), the last line of each verse is repeated.

Music: "In Dulci Jubilo"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML

1. In dulci jubilo
Let us our homage shew:
Our heart's joy reclineth
In praesepio;
And like a bright star shineth
Matris in gremio,
Alpha es et O!

2. O Jesu parvule,
My heart is sore for Thee!1
Hear me, I beseech Thee,
O puer optime;
My praying let it reach Thee,2
O princeps gloriae.
Trahe me post te.

3. O patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Deeply were we stained.3
Per nostra crimina:
But Thou for us hast gained4
Coelorum gaudia,
Qualis gloria!

4. Ubi sunt gaudia,
If that they be not there?6
There are Angels singing7
Nova cantica;
And there the bells are ringing
In Regis curia.
O that we were there!

Hutchins adds:

There are Angels singing
And there the bells are ringing
In Regis curia.
O that we were there!
O that we were there!

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Alternate Third Verse From Hutchins:

3. O patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Deep were we stained
Per nostra crimina:
But thou has for us gained
Coelorum gaudia,
O that we were there
O that we were there!


1. Or: I yearn for thee alway! Return

2. Or: My prayer let it reach Thee! Return

3. And: Deep were we stained Return

4. Or: But thou hast for us gained. Return

5. And: O that we were there! Return

6. Or: If they be not there? Return

7. Or: There the bells are ringing. Return

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Sheet music arrangement by W. J. Westbrook from Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol 742

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Hutchins' Note:

"The original melody of "In dulci jubilo" can be traced back to the year 1570. It was then called "A very ancient song for Christmas eve." It was very popular in Germany alike among Protestants and Romanists, and is still in use in those parts of the country where people retain old customs, and it always has a place in the anthem form her presented, in the Christmas music of Westminster Abbey. The original words were written half in Latin and half in German: the latter being here translated into English."


Hutchins give translation credit to R. L. De Pearsall and credit for the arrangement to W. J. Westbrook. On January 6, 2012, I received a note from Daniel Trott who was putting together a carol booklet for Christmas 2012. He let me know that Westbrook's arrangement was actually a four-part arrangement of Pearsall's eight-part anthem-style arrangement, not an arrangement of the original melody as such. Thanks, Dan!

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