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Harry Maynard's Latin Christmas Carols

The late Harry C. Maynard taught Latin and Greek for many years at the University of Toronto Schools. I had the privilege of studying both from him until I graduated in 1981, and a high point of each year was the annual singing of Christmas Carols. Mr. Maynard had collected some, translated many himself, and distributed them together with some non-holiday songs on purple dittoes produced from typewritten masters to the dozens of students who would return to his classroom each year to sing, even long after they had stopped having time to study Latin the rest of the year.

Page One: Text

CARMINA LATĪNA DE NĀTIVITĀTE CHRISTĪ
I
Adeste, fidēlēs,
laetī triumphantēs;
venīte, venīte in Bethlehem.
Nātum vidēte,
rēgem angelōrum.

     Venīte adōrēmus,
     Venīte adōrēmus,
     Venīte adōrēmus Dominum.

Ēn grēge relictō,
humilēs ad cūnās
vocātī pastōrēs adproperant.
Et nōs ovantī
gradū festinēmus.

Stellā dūce, Magī
Christum adorantēs
Aurum, tūs, et myrrham dant mūnera.  
Jēsū īnfantī
Corda praebeāmus. 

Cantet nunc hymnōs
chōrus angelōrum;
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
"Glōria, glōria,
in excēlsis Deō."

II
Nōx sīlēns! sancta nōx!
Ēn tranquilla omnia!
Cubat virgō cum nātō māter.
Īnfāns sancte, mollis, tener,
dormī tū placidē,
dormī tū placidē.

Nōx sīlēns! sancta nōx!
Circumfulget glōria!
Prīmī pastōrēs sentiunt.
Angelī 'Allēlūja' canunt.
Chrīstus Salvātor adest!
Chrīstus Salvātor adest!

Nōx sīlēns! sancta nōx!
Nātī Deō ē vultū 
clārē vērus amor lūcet.
Spēs salūtis nōbīs adfulget,
Nātū, Jēsū, tuō,
nātū, Jēsū, tuō.
III
Sānctus Wenceslāus rēx,
Stephanī ad festum,
agrum vīdit nīvibus
gelidīs congestum.
Vīdit pauperem sibi
līgna colligentem,
quī sub lūnā splendidā
sēnsit sē frīgentem.

"Hūc, ō puer, siste hūc, 
dīcēns, sī cognōris,
quis sit, ubi habitet
pauper iste forīs?"
"Ere procul habitat,
subter illum montem,
silvae jūxtā līmitem,
ad Agnētis fontem."

"Adfer carnem, vīnum fer,
līgnum adferāmus,
ut nōs illī pauperī
cēnam praebeāmus."
Rēx et puer prōdībant
animō aequālī,
ventō flante ācriter
tempore brūmālī.

"Ere, nōx fit ātrior;
ventus vī augētur;
plūs nōn possum; nesciō cūr
valdē cor terrētur."
"Puer mī, vestigia tū
sequere libenter.
Hiēms saeva laedet tē
minus violenter."

Puer rēgem sequitur,
unde nix discessit;
fervor glaebīs inerat,
ubi sānctus pressit.
Hōc scītōte, dīvitēs,
Christum quī amātis,
vōs beatī eritis,
sī quem vōs beātis.

IV
Ō parve vīce Bethlehem,
ēn tacent omnia!
Tē super dormientem hīc
labuntur sīdera.
Per viās lūx adfulget
aeterna, splendidē
aevōrum spēs et timorēs
conveniunt in tē.

Page One: Notes

According to Justin Bur '81, the original was printed on an IBM Selectric typewriter using a typeball with the Adjutant typeface. For macrons, HCM used hyphens placed half a line higher than their vowels, so that for example the bar would be just barely above the dot of a lower-case 'i'. For maximum authenticity when viewing this page, please download and install a good copy of Adjutant.

Carmen I was originally written in Latin ca. 1740-1744 by John Francis Wade, 1711-1786. According to The Hymns and Carols of Christmas, the first and fourth verses shown above were Wade's first and third verses. Verse two was added in 1822 by Abbé Étienne Jean François Borderies along with two others not shown. Verse three was added in the mid-19th century, and its authorship is unknown.

Some texts begin the last verse with "Cantet nunc hymnōs", others with "Cantet nunc iō". I'm not sure why, and I'd be interested to find out.

In my copy, there is an extra space between "Corda" and "praebeāmus".

Carmen II is Silent Night.

Carmen III is Good King Wenceslaus, translation credited by one source to Stephen A. Hurlbut. HCM always made the girls sing the part of the boy, and the boys sing the part of the king. I am indebted to Neale Cardinal '72 for correcting "hīc" to "hūc" twice in verse 2 and "puerī" to "puer" in verse 3.

In my copy, the final quotation mark in verse four is omitted.

Carmen IV is O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Page Two: Text

CARMINA LATĪNA DE NĀTIVITĀTE CHRISTĪ
V
Ōrnāte ramōsīs aulās:
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
Nōnne tempus est gaudendī?
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
Vestēs variās sumāmus,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
prīscum carmen ut canamus:
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
 
Tintinābul' agitāte,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
ut volantēs sūrsum corda,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
Aetās festīva propinquōs,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
tulit ad larem cantentēs,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
 
Novīs dat nunc canities,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
pācem benevolentiae.
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
Dōnīs Deī intersumus,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
mēnsis plēnīs bonitātis,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
 
Cordibus nostrīs gaudentēs,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
voluntātēs submittentēs,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
Chrīstō nostra dēdicāmus,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.
saecula in saeculōrum,
   Saturnālia la-la la-la.

VI
Rudolphus, nāsō rubrō,
nāsō nītidissimō,
sī umquam eum spectēs,
dīcās eum fulgēre.
Reliquī tum rēnōnēs
dērīdēbant lūdentēs,
semper vetābant eum
apud lūdōs ludere.
 
Deinde ante Nātālem
Santa vēnit, et
"Tū, Rudolphe nītide,
traham meam dūc nocte."
Dein, ut rēnōnēs amant,
exclāmantēs hīlarē:
"Rudolphe, nāsō rubrō,
in annālibus eris!"
VII
Ō virī, este hīlarēs
et bonō animō.
Salvātor Chrīstus nātus est
hōc tempore fēstō,
ut nōs errantēs līberet
summō perīculō.
Ō rem ūnam laetissimam, laetissimam,
ō rem ūnam laetissimam!

VIII
Lapsī caelō super gentēs,
properāte, angelī,
nūntiāte nunc gaudentēs
nātum nostrī Dominī.

Adōrāte, adōrāte,
adōrāte Dominum.

IX
Num amīcōrum veterum
decet oblīviscī?
Annōrum heu fugācium
et temporis actī?

   Actum, sodālēs, ob tempus
   praeteritum tempus,
   priusquam discesserimus,
   manūs jungāmus.

Flōrēs ōlim dēcerpsimus
lūdentēs in prātīs,
sed aspera peragrāvimus
diēbus ex illīs.

Et agēbāmus vacuōs
diēs ad rīvulum;
sed dīvidit jam diū nōs
aequor undōsum.

Page Two: Notes

Carmen V is Deck the Halls, translated (I believe) by Harry C. Maynard. I almost fell out of my chair when I first read the refrain, it's so perfect!

In my copy, the 'V' identifying the song appears in the left margin, three spaces to the left of the 'Ō' that begins the song, and the "Saturnālia" is misspelled "Sanurnālia" in the fourth line. I find it easier to sing with an extra "la" in the sixth line of each verse, but Justin and HCM disagree.

Carmen VI is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Johnny Marks, translated (again, I'm pretty sure) by Harry C. Maynard. The translation omits the song's intro, from "You know Dasher and Dancer" to "The most famous reindeer of all?".

It was the most popular of HCM's songs, and the most enthusiastically sung by the class.

Carmen VII is God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. Jane Smith quotes it without attribution, along with the additional lines:

De Caelo Pater misit, in terram angelum
Qui quosdam ad postores afferret nuntium!
In Bethleham [sic] natum esse ipsius Filium

Carmen VIII is Les anges dans nos campagnes (an English translation of which is known as Angels We Have Heard On High).

Carmen IX is Auld Lang Syne, by Robert Burns. There's a similar, but shorter version at Jane Smith's web site.