Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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CHRISTMAS POETRY
the Lake of Constance. Among those that are probably his work is the Christmas " Natus ante saecula Dei filius." The most famous Nativity sequence, however, is the " Laetabundus, exsultet fidelis chorus" of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), once sung all over Europe, and especially popular in England and France. Here are its opening verses :
" Laetabundus, Exsultet fidelis chorus ;
Alleluia ! Regem regum Intactae profudit thorus ;
Res miranda !
Angelus consilii Natus est de Virgine,
Sol de stella! Sol occasum nesciens, Stella semper rutilans,
Semper clara." * 4
The " Laetabundus " is in rhymed stanzas ; in this it differs from most early proses. The writing of rhymed sequences, however, became common through the example of the Parisian monk, Adam of St. Victor, in the second half of the twelfth century. He adopted an entirely new style of versification and music, derived from popular songs ; and he and his successors in
* " Come rejoicing,
Faithful men, with rapture singing
Alleluya ! Monarch's Monarch, From a holy maiden springing,
Mighty wonder !
Angel of the Counsel here, Sun from star, he doth appear,'
Born of maiden : He a sun who knows no night, She a star whose paler light
Fadeth never."
(Translation in "The English Hymnal," No. 22.)
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