The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

On This Day Earth Shall Ring

Words: Personet Hodie from Piae Cantiones, 1582
trans. Jane M. Joseph (1894-1929), 1924(5)

Music: "Personent hodie," 1582
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: 666 66 with Refrain

1. On this day earth shall ring
with the song children sing
to the Lord, Christ our King,
born on earth to save us;
him the Father gave us.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o,
Id-e-o gloria in excelsis Deo!

2. His the doom, ours the mirth;
when he came down to earth,
Bethlehem saw his birth;
ox and ass beside him
from the cold would hide him. Refrain

3. God's bright star, o'er his head,
Wise Men three to him led;
kneel they low by his bed,
lay their gifts before him,
praise him and adore him. Refrain

4. On this day angels sing;
with their song earth shall ring,
praising Christ, heaven's King,
born on earth to save us;
peace and love he gave us. Refrain


This is one of many songs which relate to the Holy Innocents, whose feast day is December 28. For more, please see The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents.

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

This happy 15th or 16th century Latin carol is probably a parody of an earlier medieval song beginning 'intonent hodie voces ecclesie' in honour of St Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia, sailors and children - to whom he traditionally brings gifts on his feast day, 6 December. The parody may have been written for Holy Innocents' Day, a day when choristers and their boy bishop ruled the choir and displaced the senior clergy from their stalls. The tune which accompanied it in the 1582 Finnish Piae Cantiones manuscript was possibly that of the earlier song as a very similar melody is found in a 1360 manuscript from Moosburg, Germany. The English translation used today is by James [sic] M. Joseph.

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