by Robert Southwell (1561? - 1595)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

In freezing winter night
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
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.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "In frost’ger Winternacht", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title unknown, copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Tom White

This text was added to the website: 2007-10-01
Line count: 10
Word count: 112

In frost’ger Winternacht
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Schaut, ein unschuldig zartes Kind in frost’ger Winternacht
zitternd in einer Krippe liegt - wie herzzerreißend, ach!

Herberge und ein Bett, zu ruhn, gibt man ihm nirgendwo.
So ruht bei Ochs und Esel es in einer Kripp’ auf Stroh.

Der Stall ist nun ein Fürstenhof, die Krippe ist sein Thron;
ein hölz’ner Teller sein Gedeck, Tiere sein Hofstaat schon.

Als wär’s ein höfisches Gewand wirkt Volkes schlichte Tracht;
Der Prinz selbst kam vom Himmel hoch; dort preist man diese Pracht.

Tritt her mit Freud’, o Christenmensch, bring deinem König Ehr;
lobpreise seine schlichte Pracht, die kommt vom Himmel her.


  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2015 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2015-07-26
Line count: 10
Word count: 99