click to play

1. Rorate coeli desuper!
Heavens, distil your balmy showers;
For now is risen the bright Daystar,
From the rose Mary, flower of flowers:
The clear Sun, whom no cloud devours,
Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is comen of his heavenly towers,
Et nobis puer natus est.

2. Sinners be glad, and penance do,
And thank your Maker heartfully;
For he that ye might not come to,
To you is comen full humbly,
Your soul├?┬Ęs with his blood to buy,
And loose you of the fiend's arrest,
And only of his own mercy;
Pro nobis puer natus est.

3. Celestial fowl├?┬Ęs in the air,
Sing with your not├?┬Ęs upon height,
In firth├?┬Ęs and in forests fair
Be mirthful now at all your might;
For pass├?┬Ęd is your dully night;
Aurora has the cloud├?┬Ęs pierced,
The sun is risen with gladsome light,
Et nobis puer natus est.

4. Sing heaven imperial, most of height,
Regions of air make harmony,
All fish in flood and fowl of flight
Be mirthful and make melody:
All Gloria in excelsis cry,
Heaven, earth, sea, man, bird, and beast;
He that is crowned above the sky
Pro nobis puer natus est.

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Source: The Oxford Book of Carols, ed. Percy Dearmer, R. Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw.

Music: Scottish traditional, words from a poem by William Dunbar. The original poem "On the Nativity of Christ" can be found in the Oxford Book of English Verse. An online version is here:


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