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Texts & Translations

Digital Program

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Noel: Verbum caro factum est (Tamsin Jones)

Verbum caro factum est:  The word made flesh



This night there is a child y-born, that sprang out of Jesse's thorn,

we must sing and say therefore: verbum caro factum est

Jesus is the child's name, and Mary mild is his dame,

all sorrow is turned to game: verbum caro factum est

It fell upon the high midnight,

the stars they shone both fair and bright,

the angels sang with all their might: verbum caro factum est

Now kneel we down upon our knee and pray we to the Trinity,

our help, our succor for to be: verbum caro factum est


-Traditional (before 1556)



We look for you (Evensong)

(Raag Hamsadhwani) - from "A Winter Breviary"


Eventide, our single star,

One looking star, this night.

Next to me, the sparrow hen,

Two pilgrims small and bold.

Dusking hour, that lonely hour

The sky dims blue to grey.

Our forest road will fade,

That lonely hour,

We look for You.

Pines glisten wet with sleep,

She looks with me,

We look for You.

Fog falls in

So close, my breath

She looks with me,

We look for You:

Great Silent One Unseen,

We look for You.

Eventide, our single star, this night.

We look for you.

Forgiving light, our guide.,

- Rebecca Gayle Howell



In the bleak midwinter (Harold Drake)


1  In the bleak midwinter frosty winds made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter long ago.

2  Our God, Heav'n cannot hold him nor earth sustain;
Heav'n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter astable place sufficed.
The Lord God Almighty Jesus Christ.

3  Enough for him, whom cherubim worship night and day,
A breastful of milk and a mangerful of hay:
Enough for him, whom angels fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

5  What can I give him poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give him, give my heart.


Gabriel's Message (Basque Carol/arr. Jim Clemens)

-Text by S. Baring-Gould

Hymn to the Virgin (Benjamin Britten)


Of one that is so fair and bright,

   velut maris stella, (like a star of the sea)

Brighter than the day is light,

   parens et puella. (mother and maiden)

I cry to thee, thou see to me,

   Lady, pray thy Son for me, Tam pia, (such a virtuous one)

That I may come to thee. Maria! (Mary)

All this world was forlorn

   Eva peccatrice, (through Eve, the sinner)

Till our Lord was y-born

   de te genetrice. (of thee, the mother)

With ave it went away

   darkest night, and comes the day salutis: (of salvation)

The well springeth out of thee virtutis. (of virtue)

Lady, flow'r of everything,

   rosa sine spina, (rose without thorn)

Thou bare Jesu, heaven's King,

   gratia divina: (by divine grace)

Of all that bear'st the prize,

   Lady, queen of paradise, Electa: (chosen one)

Maid mild, mother es effecta. (you are made)


Ave Maria (Kevin Allen)


Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum;

benedicta tu in mulieribus,

et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,

ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.



Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Lute-book Lullaby (arr. Gregory Shaw)

Sweet was the song the Virgin sang,

when she to Bethlem Judah came

and was deliver'd of a son,

that blessed Jesus hath to name:

“Lula, lula, lula, lullaby,

lula, lula, lula, lullaby.


Sweet babe,” sang she, “my son, and eke a Saviour born,

who hast vouchsafed from on high

to visit us that were forlorn:

Lalula, lalula, lalullaby.

Sweet babe,” sang she,

and rock'd him sweetly on her knee.

-words by W. Ballet (17th c.)


Infant Holy, Infant Lowly (Trad. Polish Carol/arr. Ellen Gilson Voth)


Infant holy, Infant lowly, for His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing, Christ the Babe is Lord of all.
Swift are winging angels singing, noels ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new
Saw the glory, heard the story, tidings of a Gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the Babe was born for you.

Sing Lullaby (Herbert Howells)


Sing lullaby
While snow doth gently fall
Sing lullaby to Jesus
Born in an oxenstall
Sing lullaby

Sing lullaby to Jesus
Born now in Bethlehem
The naked blackthorn's growing
To weave his diadem
Sing lullaby to Jesus

Sing lullaby to Jesus
While thickly snow doth fall
Sing lullaby to Jesus
The saviour of all
Sing lullaby

O nata lux (Anna Lapwood)


O nata lux de lumine,

Jesu redemptor saeculi,

Dignare clemens supplicum

Laudes precesque sumere.


Qui carne quondam contegi

Dignatus es pro perditis,

Nos membra confer effici

Tui beati corporis.



O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.

Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body.

O Radiant Dawn (James MacMillan)

O Radiant Dawn,

Splendour of eternal Light,

Sun of Justice:

come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah had prophesied,

The people who walked in darkness have seen the great light

upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.




Love came down at Christmas (Eleanor Daley)



Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, love divine;

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and angels gave the sign.


Worship we the Godhead,

Love incarnate, love divine;

Worship we our Jesus:

But wherewith for sacred sign?


Love shall be our token,

Love shall be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and to all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.


-Christina Rosetti


Halcyon Days (Melissa Dunphy)


Sacred days draw near, traditions hallowed and wan,

Well-worn prayers embrace their heirs when love returns as embers.

Dreams delayed, hopes frayed in the blue nights of winter,

Daybreak dreams of reunions lost.

Rise up, tattered and torn! Rise up, barren and reborn!

Go forth in peace, bring joy to the dawn, 

and grace, turn your face upon us.

-Jacqueline Goldfinger


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