“In dulci jubilo”


A German Christmas Carol in Latin, German and English

This traditional carol in Latin and German dates from the 14th century. There are two main German versions: a Catholic version (below in Latin and German) and a Protestant version (in German only). There are also several different English translations.

Also see the traditional English version of this carol (“Good Christian Men, Rejoice”).

Learn more in “About this Carol” below.

DEUTSCH
Volksweise, seit spätestens 1320
Traditional melody dating from ca. 1320
ENGLISH
Words: Henry Suso, 14th century
Literal English translation – HF
In dulci jubilo,*
nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne
leit in præsepio
und leuchtet als die Sonne
matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O.

– – –
In sweet jubilation,
now sing and be joyous!
Our heart’s bliss
rests in a manger
and shines like the sun
in his mother’s lap.
You are the alpha and omega.
[“the beginning and end”]
O Jesu parvule,
nach dir ist mir so weh.
Tröst mir mein Gemüte,
o puer optime;
durch alle deine Güte,
o princeps gloriae,
trahe me post te.
O tiny Jesus,
my heart aches for Thee.
Console me in my heart and soul,
o best of boys;
through all your good,
o prince of glory,
draw me to you.
Ubi sunt gaudia?
Nirgend mehr denn da,
da die Engel singen
nova cantica
und die Schellen klingen
in regis curia.
Eia, wärn wir da!
Where are joys?
Nowhere more than there
where angels sing
new songs
and the bells ring
in the courts of the King.
Oh, were we only there!
O pater caritas
o mater lenitas

wir waren gar verdorben
per nostra crimina:
So hast du uns erworben
coelorum gaudia.
Maria, hilf uns da!
Oh love of the Father
oh gentleness of the Mother
We were stained
by our crimes:
thus Thou hast for us acquired
the joys of heaven.
Maria, help us there!
*Latin in italics.

MORE > Protestant version of “In dulci jubilo”
MORE > Traditional English lyrics (“Good Christian Men, Rejoice”)
BACK > German Christmas Carol Lyrics


About This Carol

caption

A 15th century woodcut showing the German mystic Heinrich Seuse (Henry Suso), the possible author of the words to “In dulci jubilo.” Seuse was born near Lake Constance and died in Ulm, Germany in 1366.
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

This traditional carol in Latin and German dates from at least the 14th century. The words may have been written by the German Dominican monk and mystic Heinrich Seuse (1295-1366, known as Henry Soso in English), but that is not an established fact. It is known that Heinrich mentioned this song in his autobiography (Vita/Leben Seuse), the first ever written in German.

“In dulci jubilo” is a so-called “macaronic” song, one which combines Latin and a vernacular language such as German or English. Today in German there is a Catholic version (with a mixture of Latin and German) and a Protestant version (without any Latin). There are also several different English translations. The most common English version of “In dulci jubilo” is “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” with words by the English clergyman John Mason Neale (1818-1866).

Over time, various musical arrangements and melodies have been created for “In dulci jubilo” by several composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach. Other musical settings were written in 1607 by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) and in the 1860s by Sir John Stainer (Christmas Carols New and Old).

The Mannheim Steamroller CD A Fresh Aire Christmas features “In dulci jublio” and several other German carols.

VIDEO: Vienna Choir Boys – “In dulci jubilo”Die Wiener Sängerknaben 1967

Next | German Christmas Carol Lyrics in German and English

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