Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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GERMAN CATHOLIC POETRY
Confort my hart and mynde, O puer optime,
God of all grace sa kynde, et princeps gloriae
Trahe me post te, Trahe me post te.
Ubi sunt gaudia, in ony place bot thair,
Quhair that the Angellis sing Nova cantica,
Bot and the bell is ring in regis curia,
God gif I war thair, God gif I war thair."2I
The music of "In dulci jubilo"* has, with all its religious feeling, something of the nature of a dance, and unites in a strange fashion solemnity, playfulness, and ecstatic delight. No other air, perhaps, shows so perfectly the reverent gaiety of the carol spirit.
The fifteenth century produced a realistic type of German carol. Here is the beginning of one such :
" Da Jesu Krist geboren wart, do was es kalt ; in ain klaines kripplein er geleget wart.
Da stunt ain esel und ain rint, die atmizten iiber das hailig kint gar unverborgen. Der ain raines herze hat, der darf nit sorgen." \ 22
It goes on to tell in naive language the story of the wanderings of the Holy Family during the Flight into Egypt.
This carol type lasted, and continued to develop, in Austria and the Catholic parts of Germany through the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, and even in the nineteenth. In Carinthia in the early nineteenth century, almost every parish had its local poet, who added new songs to the old treasury.23 Particularly popular were the Hirtenlieder or shepherd songs, in which the peasant worshippers joined themselves to the shepherds of Bethlehem, and sought to share their devout
* The tune is often used in England for Neale's carol, " Good Christian men, rejoice."
\ "When Jesus Christ was born, then was it cold ; in a little crib He was laid. There stood an ass and an ox which breathed over the Holy Child quite openly. He who has a pure heart need have no care."
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