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.

Notes:

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).

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