Pamela Dellal, mezzo soprano

 

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Miscellaneous Translations

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): A Ceremony of Carols

15th and 16th century English carol texts

 
1. Procession (anon.)
Hodie Christus natus est          [Today Christ is born]
Hodie Salvator apparuit,           [today the Savior has appeared]
Hodie in terra canunt angeli,    [today the angels sing on earth]
Laetantur archangeli,               [the archangels rejoice]
Hodie exultant justi, dicentes: [today the righteous exult, saying]
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Alleluia! [Glory to God in the highest, alleluia!]
2. Wolcum Yole! (anon.)
Wolcum, Wolcum,
Wolcum be thou hevenè king.
Wolcum Yole! Wolcum, born in one morning.
Wolcum for whom we sall sing!

Wolcum be ye Stevene and Jon.
Wolcum Innocentes every one.
Wolcum, Thomas marter one.
Wolcum, be ye, Good Newe Yere.
Wolcum Twelfth Day both in fere,
Wolcum, seintes lefe and dere,
Wolcum Yole!

Candelmesse, Quene of bliss.
Wolcum bothe to more and lesse.
Wolcum be ye that are here.
Wolcum Yole!
Wolcum alle and make good cheer.
Wolcum alle another yere.
Wolcum Yole! Wolcum!
3. There is no rose (anon.)
There is no rose of such vertu
As is the rose that bare Jesu:
Alleluia
.

For in this rose conteinèd was
Heaven and earth in littel space:
Res miranda
.

By that rose we may well see
That he is God in persons three:
Pares forma.

The aungels sungen the shepherds to:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo",
Gaudeamus.

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth:
Transeamus.
4a. That yongë child (anon.)
That yongë child when it gan weep
With song she lulled him asleep;
That was so sweet a melody
It passèd alle minstrelsy.
The nightingalë sang also:
Her song is hoarse and nought thereto:
Whoso attendeth to her song
And leaveth the first then doth he wrong.
4b. Balulalow (James, John, and Robert Wedderburn)
O my deare hert, young Jesu sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee to my hert
And never mair from thee depart.
But I sall praise thee evermoir
With sanges sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my hart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow!
5. As dew in Aprille (anon.)
I sing of a maiden
that is makèles:
King of all kings
to her son she ches.
He came al so stille
there his moder was,
As dew in Aprille
that falleth on the grass.
He came al so stille
to his moder's bour,
As dew in Aprille
that falleth on the flour.
He came al so stille
there his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille
that falleth on the spray.
Moder and mayden
was never none but she;
Well may such a lady
Goddes moder be.
6. This little babe (Robert Southwell)
This little Babe so few days old
is come to rifle Satan's fold;
all hell doth at his presence quake
though he himself for cold do shake;
for in this weak unarmèd wise
the gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
his naked breast stands for a shield;
his battering shot are babish cries,
his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
his martial ensigns Cold and Need
and feeble Flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
his bulwark but a broken wall;
the crib his trench, haystacks his stakes;
of shepherds he his muster makes;
and thus, as sure his foe to wound,
the angels' trump alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight,
stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest ward,
this little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
7. Interlude - Harp solo
8. In freezing winter night (Robert Southwell)
Behold, a silly tender babe in freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies; alas, a piteous sight!

The inns are full, no man will yield this little pilgrim bed.
But forced he is with silly beasts, in crib to shroud his head.

This stable is a Prince's court, this crib his chair of State;
The beasts are parcel of his pomp, this wooden dish his plate.

The persons in that poor attire his royal liveries wear;
The Prince himself is come from Heav'n; this pomp is prizèd there.

With joy approach O Christian wight, do homage to thy King;
And highly praise his humble pomp, which he from Heav'n doth bring.
9. Spring Carol (William Cornish)
Pleasure it is
To hear, iwis,
The Birdès sing.
The deer in the dale,
The sheep in the vale,
The corn springing.
God’s purveyance
For sustenance,
It is for man.
Then we always
To give him praise,
And thank him than,
And thank him than.
10. Deo gracias! (anon.)
Deo gratias!
Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond,
Four thousand winter
Thought he not to long.
Deo gratias!
And all was for an appil,
An apple that he took,
As clerkès finden
Written in their book.
Né had the appil takè ben,
Né hadè never our lady
A ben hevenè quene.
Blessèd be the time
That appil takè was.
Therefore we moun singen:
Deo gratias!
11. Recession
Hodie Christus natus est          [Today Christ is born]
Hodie Salvator apparuit,           [today the Savior has appeared]
Hodie in terra canunt angeli,    [today the angels sing on earth]
Laetantur archangeli,               [the archangels rejoice]
Hodie exultant justi, dicentes: [today the righteous exult, saying]
Gloria in excelsis Deo, Alleluia! [Glory to God in the highest, alleluia!]