The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Make We Joy In This Feast

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 53.

Make we joy in this feast, in quo Christus natus est,
A Patre Unigenitus
, to a maiden is come to us;
Sing we of Him and say we, "Welcome, veni, Redemptor gencium."
Agnoscat omne seculum
, a bright star kings made come;
For to us with their presents, verbum superum prodiens.
A solis ortus cardine,
so mighty a lord is none as He.
                        . . . And1 to our Lord He hath grith.2
Marya ventre concepit, the Holy Ghost was aye her with;
Of her in Bethlehem now born He is, Consors Paterni luminis,
Alma beata Trinitas,
that lay between an ox and ass,
By His mother maiden free, gloria Tibi Domine.


1. The Latin half of this line is missing. See below. Return

2. Peace. Return

Rickert's note from page 150:

This carol might better be printed in the form of short couplets, alternately English and Latin. Its sole interest lies in its macaronic character. It is evidently with intention that a Latin line follows a Latin, and an English an English, while the rhyme is between one of each.

Editor's Note:

For a more structured form of the carol see the copy reproduced by Woodward, Make We Joy Now In This Fest.

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.

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).

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.