As we continue to reflect upon the Mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation and Birth during the season of Christmas, we consider the Latin hymn Puer natus in Bethlehem (A child is born in Bethlehem). It is a Medieval Latin Christmas hymn based on the opening line of the Introit for Christmas from the Graduale Romanum, the Church’s official universal hymnal. The thirteenth-century text is traditionally associated with a fourteenth-century tune of the same name. The hymn tells the complete story of the Nativity of our Lord a matter of a few short verses.
|Puer natus in Bethlehem, Alleluia.
Unde gaudet Jerusalem. Alleluia.
Hic jacet in præsepio, Alleluia.
Qui regnat sine termino. Alleluia.
Cognovit bos et asinus, Alleluia.
Quod puer erat Dominus. Alleluia.
Reges de Sabâ veniunt, Alleluia.
Aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt. Alleluia.
Intrantes domum invicem, Alleluia.
Novum salutant principem. Alleluia.
De matre natus virgine, Alleluia.
Sine virili semine; Alleluia.
Sine serpentis vulnere, Alleluia.
De nostro venit sanguine; Alleluia.
In carne nobis similis, Alleluia.
Peccato sed dissimilis; Alleluia.
Ut redderet nos homines, Alleluia.
Deo et sibi similes. Alleluia.
In hoc natali gaudio, Alleluia.
Benedicamus Domino: Alleluia.
Laudetur sancta Trinitas, Alleluia.
Deo dicamus gratias. Alleluia.
|A Child is born in Bethlehem; Alleluia.
Exult for joy, Jerusalem! Alleluia.
There in a manger lowly lies, Alleluia.
He who reigns above the skies. Alleluia.
The ox and ass in neighbouring stall. Alleluia.
See in that Child the Lord of all. Alleluia.
And kingly pilgrims, long foretold, Alleluia.
From East bring incense, myrrh, and gold, Alleluia.
And enter with their offerings. Alleluia.
To hail the new-born King of Kings. Alleluia.
He comes, a maiden mother's Son. Alleluia.
Yet earthly father hath He none; Alleluia.
And, from the serpent's poison free. Alleluia.
He owned our blood and pedigree. Alleluia.
Our feeble flesh and His same. Alleluia.
Our sinless kinsman He became, Alleluia.
That we, from deadly thrall set free. Alleluia.
Like Him, and so like God, should be. Alleluia.
Come then, and on this natal day, Alleluia.
Rejoice before the Lord and pray. Alleluia.
And to the Holy One in Three, Alleluia.
Give praise and thanks eternally. Alleluia.
Translated by Hamilton Montgomerie MacGill, 1876