Tuesday, December 8, 2009


On this Sunday marked as "Rejoice," I offer a carol (a bit early, I admit) imbued with the spirit of the day as well as the upcoming Christmas season (and it lays out the real "reason for the season," as they say). The live performance of this mediaeval carol is by the British group "Steeleye Span," also on their album Below the Salt.

Their descriptive setting in the album's liner notes is as follows:

Mist takes the morning path to wreath the willows--Rejoice, rejoice--small birds sing as the easy rising monk takes to his sandals--Christ is born of the Virgin Mary--cloistered, the Benedictine dawn threads timelessly the needle's eye--rejoice.

Original Latin and my English translation are below. I apologize in advance for the translation's not being quite literal (it would not 'cut the mustard' for the new Sacramentary, I'm afraid!), but I did try to match the rhythms and stresses of the Latin with my English version, to help you (if you so desired) to 'sing along'--ENJOY!

Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria Virgine, gaudete

Tempus adest gratiae hoc quod optamabus,
Carmina laetitiae devote reddamus.

Deus homo factus est, naturam mirante,
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante

Ezechielis porta clausa pertransitur
Unde lux est orta salus invenitur

Ergo nostra contio psallat jam in lustro,
Benedicat Domino salus Regi nostro.

Rejoice all, all rejoice, for Christ is born now
Of the Virgin Mary, sing we rejoice

Now has come the time of grace, this which we have longed for
Songs of jubilation now fervently we offer

God in human form is come, to Nature's great amazement
Now the world’s restored again by Christ our King triumphant

The gate of Ezekiel once closed has been broken
From the dawn a Light has shone; salvation now recovered

And so now our gathering sings with all our vigor
May our songs be blessings to our Lord, our king, our Savior!

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