The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Royal Day That Chasest Gloom

For Christmas

Dies est lętitię
or
Dies est leticie

Words: German, XIV Cent. 
Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale who noted in Carols of Christmas-tide that "Of the 13th or 14th century. A great favourite all over Europe. Germany and Holland had ancient translations. Luther regarded it as inspired."

Music: Rev. Thomas Helmore, Piae Cantiones, 1582.
Additional Melody from Koler's Ruefbuechl (MS.), 1601, as given by Bäumker. Harmony by the Rev. G. R. Woodward.

Source: John Mason Neale, ed., Medieval Hymns and Sequences, Third Edition. London: Joseph, 1867, pp. 185-6.
Compare: "Royal Day That Chasest Gloom" from Neale and Helmore, Carols for Christmas-tide (London: 1853).

1. Royal Day that chasest gloom!
    Day by gladness speeded!
Thou beheld'st from Mary's womb
    How the King proceeded;
Whom, True Man, with praise our Choir
Hails, and love, and heart's desire,
    Joy and admiration;
Who, True God, enthroned in light,
Passeth wonder, passeth sight,
    Passeth cogitation.

2. On the Virgin as He hung,
    God, the world's creator,
Like a rose from lily sprung, —
    Stood astounded nature:
That a Maiden's arms enfold
Him That make the world of old,
    Him that ever liveth:
That a Maiden's spotless breast
To the King Eternal rest,
    Warmth and nurture, giveth!

3. As the sunbeam through the glass
    Passeth, but not staineth,
Thus the Virgin, as she was,
    Virgin still remaineth:
Blessed Mother, in whose womb
Lay the light that exiles gloom,
    God, the Lord of Ages;
Blessed Maid! from whom the Lord,
Her own Infant, God adored,
    Hunger's pains assuages.

Also found in George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, 1902, Revised And Enlarged Edition, 1929), Carol #18, with the following changes:

Verse 1. The last six lines by Woodward are:

Very God, Who made the sky,
Set the sun and stars on high,
Heav'n and earth sustaining:
Very Man, Who freely bare
Toil and sorrow, woe and care,
Man's salvation gaining.

Verse 3. The last four lines by Woodward are:

God to earth descending:
Blessed Maid! whose spotless breast
Gives the King of Glory rest,
Nurture, warmth, and tending.

Woodward omits the second verse, and adds the following:

3. Christ, Who mad'st us out of dust,
Breath and spirit giving:
Christ, from Whose dear steps we must
Pattern take of living:
Christ, Who camest once to save
From the curse and from the grave,
Healing, light'ning, cheering:
Christ, Who now wast made as we,
Grant that we may be like Thee,
In Thy next appearing.

Also found, correctly, in J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #71, pp. 110-1.

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, 1902, Revised And Enlarged Edition, 1929), Carol #18
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Sheet Music from Rev. J. Freeman Young, ed., Carols for Christmas Tide (New York: Daniel Dana, Jr., 1859), #6

This arrangement is the same as that which follows:

Sheet Music from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #71, pp. 110-1.

"Original Melody.
Harmonized by Hermann R. Schrœder"

Young gives the title as "Dies est lętitię"

Note from Neale:

A German carol; — at least it does not seem to have been used in the offices of the Church. It is perhaps scarcely worth mentioning that Luther believed it inspired.

Editor's Note:

There is also this note following the text of the hymn: "See the lovely melody in the 'Christmas Carols' published by Mr. Helmore and myself."

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