A Ceremony of Carols

Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Word count: 782

German (Deutsch) translation: A Ceremony of Carols ( Bertram Kottmann)
French (Français) translation: Une cérémonie de Noël ( Guy Laffaille)

1. Procession [sung text checked 1 time]

Today Christ is born;
Today the Saviour has appeared;
Today the angels sing,
The archangels rejoice,
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory be to God in the highest.
Alleluia!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

2. Wolcum Yole! [sung text checked 1 time]

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!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Bienvenue Noël !", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Willkommen Weihnacht!", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

3. There is no rose [sung text checked 1 time]

There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu:
Alleluya.

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space:
Res miranda1.

By that rose we may well see
That he is God in [person]2 three:
Pari forma3.

The angels sung the shepherds to:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo",
Gaudeamus3.

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth:
Transeamus.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Res miranda = thing of wonder.
2 Maconchy: "persons"
3 Pari forma = Equal in form.
4 Gaudeamus = Let us rejoice.

Researcher for this text: Thomas Jaenicke

4a. That yongë child [sung text checked 1 time]

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.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Ce jeune enfant", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Das kleine Kind", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

4b. Balulalow [sung text checked 1 time]

O my deir hert, young Jesus sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee in my hert
And never mair from thee depart.

But I sall praise thee evermoir
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my heart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: freely adapted from stanzas 13 and 14 of Martin Luther's text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. As dew in Aprille [sung text checked 1 time]

I sing of a maiden 
that is makèles1:
King of all kings 
to her son she ches2.

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 bour3,
As dew in Aprille 
that falleth on the flour4.

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.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Comme la rosée en avril", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Wie Tau im April", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 matchless
2 chose
3 bower
4 flower

Researcher for this text: Tom White

6. This little babe [sung text checked 1 time]

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.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Ce petit bébé", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Dies kleine Kind", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

7. Interlude (Harp Solo) [sung text not yet checked]

— Tacet —

8. In freezing winter night [sung text checked 1 time]

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.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "In frost’ger Winternacht", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

9. Spring carol [sung text not yet checked]

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.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

10. Deo gracias [sung text checked 1 time]

[Adam lay ybounden]1,
Bounden in a bond,
Four thousand winter
Thought he not too long;

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As clerkës finden
Written in their book.

Né had [one]2 apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Né had never Our Lady
A been Heaven's Queen.

Blessèd be the time
That apple takèn was.
Therefore we moun singen:
Deo gratias!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: "Deo gracias! Deo gracias!/ Adam lay ybounden"
2 Ireland: "the"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. Recession [sung text checked 1 time]

Today Christ is born;
Today the Saviour has appeared;
Today the angels sing,
The archangels rejoice,
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory be to God in the highest.
Alleluia!

Authorship

Based on

Go to the single-text view

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White