Recently I found in the school library a lovely CD of medieval Christmas songs, Now Make We Merthe. This is an English translation of a Latin hymn mentioned in Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale. You can listen to parts of the songs at that link.

Gabriel fram heven-king
sent to the maiden swete,
broucht her this blisful tiding
and fair he gan her grete:
Hail be thu, ful of grace aricht!
For godes son, this heven-licht,
for mannes love
will man bicome
and take
fles of the, maiden bricht,
manken free for to make
of sin and devle’s micht. . .

Th’angel went awai mid than
Al ut of her sicht;
Her womb arise gan
Thurch tholigastes micht. [the Holy Ghost’s might]
In her wes Christ bilok anon,
Suith god, suith man in fles and bon,
and of hir fles
iboren wes at time.
Wharthurch us kam guid won; [whereby good hope came to us]
he boucht us out of pine
and let him for us slon.

A Latin carol also from that CD, with English translation:

Verbum patris humanatur,
dum puella salutatur,
saluata fecundatur
viri nescia
[The Word of the Father is made man, while a maiden is greeted; the greeted one is fruitful without knowledge of man.]

Ey, ey, eya, nova gaudia!
[Behold, new joys!]

Novus modus geniturae,
sed excedens vim naturae,
dum unitur creaturae
creans omnia.
[A new manner of birth, but exceeding the power of nature, when the Creator of all things is made creature.]

Audi partem praeter morem,
virgo parit salvatorem,
creatura creatorem,
patrem filia. . . .
[Hear of a birth beyond precedent: a virgin hath given birth to the Savior, a creature the Creator, a daughter the Father. . . .]

Homo Deus nobis datur,
datus nobis demonstratur,
dum pax terris nuntiatur,
caelis gloria.
[God in Man is given us, the given one is shown to us, while peace is announced to the nations and glory to the heavens.]

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