The King’s Singers: ‘Guadete’

 

Gaudete! gaudete!
Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine,
gaudete!

Tempus ad est gratiae,
hoc quod optabamus;
carmina laetitiae
devote redamus.

Deus homo factus est,
natura mirante;
mundus renovatus est
a Christo regnante.

Ezecaelis orta
clausa per transistur;
unde lux est orta,
salus invenitur.

Ergo nostra contio
psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino
salus regi nostro.

 

Rejoice, rejoice
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary
Rejoice

It is now the time of grace
That we have desired
Let us sing songs of joy
Let us give devotion

God was made man
And nature marvels
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King

The closed gate of Ezekiel
Has been passed through
From where the light rises
Salvation is found

Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us
Let it praise the Lord
Greetings to our King.

 

The King’s Singers website. They are performing in Edmonton at McDougall United Church on February 7th. Tickets.

Sons of Bethlehem

First draft of a song lyric for the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Sort of a 2015 version of the Coventry Carol, I guess. I don’t have a tune for it yet, but this tune (Jim Moray’s take on a traditional folk tune) was in my mind while I was writing it.

The Sons of Bethlehem

Twas in the light of dawn they came a-killing
They never made a sound
But like a bloodstain silently were spreading
Throughout our sleeping town

And from their mothers’ arms they took our children
Or snatched them from their beds
And long before the sun arose that morning
A hundred sons were dead

It was no child of ours that they were seeking
These death squads of the night
Just incidental killings with no meaning
Victims of Herod’s might

They say the boy they wanted did escape them
Before the midnight hour
I wish some angel voice had given warning
To save these boys of ours

If there’s a god above us up in heaven
Vengeance is his, they say,
But how can God in heaven understand it
The evil done this day?

He’d have to live as one of us and suffer
By brutal powers condemned
And die in pain, just like our innocent children
The sons of Bethlehem

By Tim Chesterton, December 2015

 

 

Rorate Coeli Desuper

My blogging friend Jonathan Hagger has pointed me in the direction of this excellent poem by William Dunbar (c. 1449 – c. 1514). I love the Scots dialect, close enough to English that you can guess at its meaning, but far enough away to make it interesting. The opening line, ‘Rorate coeli desuper’, means ‘Drop down ye heavens, from above’; it comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of Isaiah 45:8. ‘Nobis Puer natus est’ means ‘and the child is born to us’.

Rorate coeli desuper!
Hevins, distil your balmy schouris!
For now is risen the bricht day-ster,
Fro the rose Mary, flour of flouris:
The cleir Sone, quhom no cloud devouris,
Surmounting Phebus in the Est,
Is cumin of his hevinly touris:
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Archangellis, angellis, and dompnationis,
Tronis, potestatis, and marteiris seir,
And all ye hevinly operationis,
Ster, planeit, firmament, and spheir,
Fire, erd, air, and water cleir,
To Him gife loving, most and lest,
That come in to so meik maneir;
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Synnaris be glad, and penance do,
And thank your Maker hairtfully;
For he that ye micht nocht come to
To you is cumin full humbly
Your soulis with his blood to buy
And loose you of the fiendis arrest—
And only of his own mercy;
Pro nobis Puer natus est.

All clergy do to him inclyne,
And bow unto that bairn benyng,
And do your observance divyne
To him that is of kingis King:
Encense his altar, read and sing
In holy kirk, with mind degest,
Him honouring attour all thing
Qui nobis Puer natus est.

Celestial foulis in the air,
Sing with your nottis upon hicht,
In firthis and in forrestis fair
Be myrthful now at all your mycht;
For passit is your dully nicht,
Aurora has the cloudis perst,
The Sone is risen with glaidsum licht,
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Now spring up flouris fra the rute,
Revert you upward naturaly,
In honour of the blissit frute
That raiss up fro the rose Mary;
Lay out your levis lustily,
Fro deid take life now at the lest
In wirschip of that Prince worthy
Qui nobis Puer natus est.

Sing, hevin imperial, most of hicht!
Regions of air mak armony!
All fish in flud and fowl of flicht
Be mirthful and mak melody!
All Gloria in excelsis cry!
Heaven, erd, se, man, bird, and best,—
He that is crownit abone the sky
Pro nobis Puer natus est!

Jonathan has a sound file on his post that gives a lovely sung version of this poem. Enjoy!

For more information about Dunbar, see this Wikipedia post.