The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Make We Jow In This Fest

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #44, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

Make we jow in this fest, in quo Christus natus est,

A patre unigenitus, to a mayden is cum to us,
Syng we of hymn and sey wolcum, veni, redemptor gencium,

Agnoscat omne seculum, a bryth stare kyngges mad cum,
For to take with her presens Verbum superum prodiens.

A solis ortus cardine so myty a lord is non as he.
    And to owre lord he hath greth. [missing phrase]

Marya ventre concepit, the holy gost was ay byr with;
Of hyr in Bedlem now born he is, consors paterni luminis,

Alme beata trinitas, that lay betwyn an ox an a as,
By hys modyr maydyn fre, gloria tibi, Domine.

Editor's Note:

The third verse, missing a phrase here, from Richard R. Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols:

3. A solis ortus cardine
So mighty a Lord was none as He;
For to our kind He hath given peace,
Adam parens quod polluit. Refrain

This text lacked any apparent structure, and has been edited from a copy of the carol that occurs in Richard Greene, ed., A Selection of English Carols (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1962), #12, p. 65. The text, however, was not changed.


Latin translations from Edith Rickert's Glossary:

In quo Christus natus est. = On which Christ was born .

1. A Patre Unigenitus = The only Son of the Father
Veni, Redemptor gencium = Come, Redeemer of mankind

2. Agnoscat omne seculum = Let all the world acknowledge Thee
Verbum supernum prodiens = Showing forth the high Word

3. A solis ortus cardine = Arisen from the quarter of the sun
Adam parens quod polluit = Which Adam, the parent, did pollute
(Source: San Francisco Bach Choir, Make We Joy).

4. Maria ventre concepit, = Conceived in Mary’s womb (Source: San Francisco Bach Choir, Make We Joy).
Consors paterni luminis = Consort of the light of the Father

5. O lux beata Trinitas = O blessed light of the Trinity
Gloria tibi, Domine = Glory to Thee, O Lord

Note: Some of the translations of Latin phrases from Rickert are different on the page from the translations by the San Francisco Bach Choir. As I have (thus far) been unable to become literate in Latin, I am not in a position to make a recommendation one way or the other.

Versions of this carol on this web site:

The Selden Manuscript was the source for A Medieval Carol Book by Rev. Terry. Scans of the manuscript pages are on-line at the Bodleian Library; see Selden MS B26 (opens in a new window at an exterior site).

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