THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
Als uns die Alten sungen,
Von Jesse kam die Art,
Und hat ein Bliimlein bracht,
Mitten im kalten Winter,
Wohl zu der halben Nacht.
Das Roslein, das ich meine,
Davon Jesajas sagt,
Hat uns gebracht alleine
Marie, die reine Magd.
Aus Gottes evv'gem Rat
Hat sie ein Kind geboren
Wohl zu der halben Nacht." * 2°
In a fourteenth-century Life of the mystic Heinrich Suso it is told how one day angels came to him to comfort him in his sufferings, how they took him by the hand and led him to dance, while one began a glad song of the child Jesus, "In dulci jubilo." To the fourteenth century, then, dates back that most delightful of German carols, with its interwoven lines of Latin. I may quote the fine Scots translation in the " Godlie and Spirituall Sangis" of 1567 :—
" l« dulci Jubilo, Now lat us sing with myrth and jo Our hartis consolatioun lyis in praesepio, And schynis as the Sone, Matris in gremio, Alpha es et O, Alpha es ct O. O Jesu parvule! I thrist sore efter the,
* " A spotless Rose is blowing,
Sprung from a tender root, Of ancient seers' foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit ; Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter, And in the dark midnight.
The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said, Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid ; For through our God's great love and might
The Blessed Babe she bare us In a cold, cold winter's night." (Translation by C. Winkworth, "Christian Singers," 85.)