Friday, December 25, 2009

Gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine!

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

    Rejoice, rejoice!
    Christ is born
    Of the Virgin Mary, Rejoice!

Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.

    The time of grace has come
    That we have desired;
    Let us devoutly return
    Joyful verses.

Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.

    The closed gate of Ezechiel
    Has been passed through;
    Whence the light is born,
    Salvation is found.

Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.

    God has become man,
    And nature marvels;
    The world has been renewed
    By Christ who is King.

Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.

    Therefore let our song
    Now be sung in brightness
    Let it give praise to the Lord:
    Greeting to our King.

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“Gaudete” (pronounced gow-DAE-tae, "rejoice" in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, composed sometime in the 16th century. The song was published in the Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1582. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books.

The text, in Latin, is a typical song of praise, probably stemming from the Middle Ages. It follows the standard pattern for the time - a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain (in the early English carol this was known as the "burden"). Carols could be on any subject, but typically they were about the Virgin Mary or the Saints of Christmas.

The Electric folk group Steeleye Span had a hit in 1973 (Number 14, UK singles chart) with an a cappella recording of the song. Guitarist Bob Johnson heard the song when he attended a folk-carol service with his father-in-law in Cambridge, and brought it to the attention of the rest of the band.

This single is one of only three top 50 British hits to be sung in Latin. (from Wikipedia)

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