A very Happy Christmas with some lesser-known but beautiful carols

Here’s wishing you the happiest of Christmases from me and the panel of worldwide writing experts who make up HTWB. [As well as my office staff of Furballs LaWoof, Pippin, Mousey (dogs), Kitten and Jeremy (cats.)]

My three favourite Christmas carols: hope you like them!

Gaudete

How’s your Latin? This carol goes back to the 16th Century. Many groups and choirs have recorded it but my favourite rendition is by that wonderful British progressive folk band, Steeleye Span. The lyrics are below if you want to sing along: who will be the first to give us the translation?

Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Tempus adest gratiae, hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Deus homo factus est natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Ezechielis porta clausa per transitur
Unde lux est orta salus invenitur
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Ergo nostra cantio psallat iam in lustro
Benedicat domino salus regi nostro
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete

Coventry Carol

This sad, haunting carol goes back to the 14th century and tells the story of how the wicked King Herod, wishing to eradicate the baby Jesus but not knowing who or where he was, ordered all baby boys under two years old to be killed.  The carol became particularly noticed after World War Two and was said to commemorate the tragic destruction of both Coventry Cathedral in England, and the Church of Our Lady in Dresden, Germany. Lyrics are below.

Lullay, Thou little tiny Child
Bye, bye, lully, lullay
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child
Bye, bye, lully, lullay
O sisters, too, how may we do
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay
Herod the King, in his raging
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight
All children young, to slay
Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee
And ever mourn and say
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child
Bye, bye, lully, lullay
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child
Bye, bye, lully, lullay

Carol Of The Bells

I nearly decided to share an all-singing, all-dancing American version of this lovely, lively carol that included every imaginable whistle and (literally!) bells. The production was huge with a full orchestra, about 20 handbell ringers and enough choristers to populate a small town. Looking elsewhere I found a charming version of the carol in its original language, Ukranian, and thought you might prefer that…

If you would like to share the US version, here’s the link – and let me know which you prefer? In the meantime here are the English-original lyrics (not translations) as we hear them today:

Hark how the bells,
Sweet silver bells,
All seem to say,
Throw cares away
Christmas is here,
Bringing good cheer,
To young and old,
Meek and the bold.
Ding dong ding dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling.
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From everywhere
Filling the air.
Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O’er hill and dale,
Telling their tale.
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here.
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas.
On on they send,
On without end,
Their joyful tone
To every home.
Ding dong ding dong
Ding dong ding dong
Hark how the bells,
Sweet silver bells,
All seem to say,
Throw cares away
(We will throw cares away)
Christmas is here,
Bringing good cheer,
To young and old,
Meek
.
And here are the lyrics in Ukrainian, if you’d like to be more authentic:

Щедрик, щедрик, щедрівочка,
Прилетіла ластівочка,
Стала собі щебетати,
Господаря викликати:
– Вийди, вийди, господарю,
Подивися на кошару,
Там овечки покотились,
А ягнички народились.
В тебе товар весь хороший,
Будеш мати мірку грошей.
В тебе товар весь хороший,
Будеш мати мірку грошей.
В тебе жінка чорноброва.
Хоч не гроші, то полова,
В тебе жінка чорноброва.
Щедрик, щедрик, щедрівочка,
Прилетіла ластівочка,
Стала собі щебетати,
Господаря викликати:
– Вийди, вийди, господарю,
Подивися на кошару,
Там овечки покотились,
А ягнички народились.
В тебе товар весь хороший,
Будеш мати мірку грошей.
В тебе товар весь хороший,
Будеш мати мірку грошей.
В тебе жінка чорноброва.
Хоч не гроші, то полова,
В тебе жінка чорноброва.
Щедрик, щедрик, щедрівочка,
Прилетіла ластівочка.

The English-original lyrics bear little resemblance to the original Ukranian concept. Here is one of a number of literal translations into English:

Tidings good news
prosperity, a-bundently,
A swallow came,
singing his song,
chat – chat – tering:
…….CHORUS:
…….sing – ing – his -song,
…….and – chat – ter – ing
Landlord, O Lord,
calling him out,
come out, come out,
Come out O Lord,
go look and see,
all you possess.
There all the ewes,
have given birth,
and all the lambs,
now have been born.
All that you have,
is very good.
You will possess,
money enough.
……..CHORUS:
……..All – that – you – have,- is – very – good.
All that you have,
is very good.
You will possess,
money enough.
……..CHORUS:
……..If not in coin, then in your fields.
……..And your wife is, a great beauty.
……..M…………………………………….
AND – – – your wife is, –
A – – – great – beauty,
If not in coin, then in your fields.
And your wife is, a great beauty. (repeat song)

SECOND ENDING:
Tiding, good news, prospertity, abundantly…
A – Swallow… came!
With many thanks to https://lyricstranslate.com.
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Have a happy, peaceful and restorative Christmas, and thank you all for your support, love and loyalty.

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Suze xx

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