Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Personent Hodie: On this day, earth shall ring

We had Personent Hodie  today at the very beautiful Christmas Day Eucharist.  It's another song from the 1582 Piae Cantiones; the melody is 14th Century.   The Latin words date from the 12th Century; the German ones from the 14th.  Sung here by the King's College Choir:



Here are the Latin words, with an English translation by Jane M. Joseph below; I'm not sure if these are the words in the 1982 hymnal, though.  Will check sometime.
Personent hodie
voces puerulae,
laudantes iucunde
qui nobis est natus,
summo Deo datus,
et de virgineo ventre procreatus.

In mundo nascitur,
pannis involvitur
praesepi ponitur
stabulo brutorum,
rector supernorum.
perdidit spolia princeps infernorum.

Magi tres venerunt,
parvulum inquirunt,
Bethlehem adeunt,
stellulam sequendo,
ipsum adorando,
aurum, thus, et myrrham ei offerendo.

Omnes clericuli,
pariter pueri,
cantent ut angeli:
advenisti mundo,
laudes tibi fundo.
ideo gloria in excelsis Deo.


On this day earth shall ring
with the song children sing
to the Lord, Christ our King,
born on earth to save us;
him the Father gave us.
Refrain
Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o,
Id-e-o gloria in excelsis Deo!

His the doom, ours the mirth;
when he came down to earth,
Bethlehem saw his birth;
ox and ass beside him
from the cold would hide him.
Refrain

God's bright star, o'er his head,
Wise Men three to him led;
kneel they low by his bed,
lay their gifts before him,
praise him and adore him.
Refrain

On this day angels sing;
with their song earth shall ring,
praising Christ, heaven's King,
born on earth to save us;
peace and love he gave us.
Refrain

Here is part of Wikipedia's entry for Personent hodie:
"Personent hodie" is a Christmas carol originally published in the 1582Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a volume of 74 Medieval songs with Latin texts collected by Jaakko Suomalainen, a Swedish Lutheran cleric, and published by T.P. Rutha.[1] The song book had its origins in the libraries of cathedral song schools, whose repertory had strong links with medieval Prague, where clerical students from Finland and Sweden had studied for generations.[2] A melody found in a 1360 manuscript from the nearby Bavarian city of Moosburg in Germany is highly similar, and it is from this manuscript that the song is usually dated.[3][4]

Textual origins

The Latin text is probably a musical parody of an earlier 12th century song beginning "intonent hodie voces ecclesie", written in honour ofSaint Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia, sailors and children – to whom he traditionally brings gifts on his feast day, 6 December.[2] Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott note that two of the verses have an unusual double repeat ('Submersum, -sum, -sum puerum'; 'Reddens vir-, vir-, vir- ginibus'). In 'intonent hodie', these were used to illustrate the three boys and three girls saved by St Nicholas from drowning and prostitution, respectively.[2] The text was probably re-written for the Feast of the Holy Innocents (28 December) when choristers and their "boy bishop" traditionally displaced the senior clergy from the choir stalls.[3] The carol is still often associated with Holy Innocents' Day.[1]

Songs from Piae Cantiones continued to be performed in Finland until the 19th century.[5] The book became well known in Britain after a rare copy of Piae Cantiones owned by Peter of Nyland was given as a gift to the British Minister in Stockholm. He subsequently gave it to John Mason Neale in 1852, and it was from this copy that Neale, in collaboration with Thomas Helmore published songs in two collections in 1853 and 1854 respectively.[5]

Translations

The most common English translation of the text is by "James M. Joseph", a pseudonym of the composer Jane M. Joseph (1894–1929). She translates the title as "On this day earth shall ring", although there are several other English translations.[2] Other versions include Elizabeth Poston's 1965 "Boys' Carol", which translates the first line of the text as "Let the boys' cheerful noise/Sing today none but joys" and John Mason Neale's "Let The Song be Begun", which uses the melody but not the text of the carol.[6][7] Aidan Oliver's non-verse translation renders the text as "Today let the voices of children resound in joyful praise of Him who is born for us."[8]


And his image is from the same page; it's the first page of Personent hodie in the original Piae Cantiones:


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