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I

THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD

Come, give me, child, the tuneful lute,

That I, in faithful verse, may sound,
A song both sweet and musical, -

The mighty deeds of Christ renowned.
Of Him alone our muse shall sing,

Our lyre His praise alone resound.

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Begotten of the Father's breast,

Before the world began to be,
The Alpha and Omega named,

Beginning and the ending He,
Of all the things that are and were,

And all that future time shall see,

He took the form of fallen flesh,

Its members subject to decay,
· Lest that fair race which once had sprung

From primal seed, should pass away,
Which race, into the depths of hell

The law had plunged with baleful sway.

O beatus ortus ille,
Virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem
Foeta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer, redemptor orbis,
Os sacratum protulit.

Psallat altitudo coeli;
Psallat omnis angelus;
Quidquid est virtutis usquam
Psallat in laudem Dei:
Nulla linguarum silescat,
Vor et omnis consonet.

Ecce! quem vates vetustis
Concinebant seculis;
Quem prophetarum fideles
Paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim:
Cuncta collaudent eum!

Te senes et te iuventus,
Parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum virginumque,
Simplices puellulae
Voce concordes pudicis
Perstrepant concentibus.

() blest was that nativity,

When bringing forth her first-born Child The Virgin our Salvation bore

Conceived by Spirit undefiled,
And He, Child-Saviour of the world,

Lift up His holy face and smiled.

Then sing the utmost height of heaven;

Let all the holy angels sing; And every power where'er it be

God's praises let it gladly bring; Nor mute let any tongue remain,

Together let all voices ring.

Behold! the One whom holy seers

Were wont to sing in days of old; And whom the faithful page, inscribed

By prophets' hand, had long foretold, He shineth forth the promised One;

Let Him by all things be extolled!

Thee let old age and Thee let youth,

And Thee let praise the children's choir, Let matrons' and the virgins' throng,

Let simple maids in voice conspire With one accord in modest lays

To make resound Thy praises higher.

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