A Child Is Born in Bethlehem

Tune: Puer natus in Bethlehem

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  1. A Child is born in Bethlehem,
    Bethlehem,
    The Joy of all Jerusalem.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  2. The Child that in the manger lies,
    Manger lies,
    Forever reigns above the skies.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  3. The ox and donkey bring Him laud,
    Bring Him laud,
    For well they know the Lord their God.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  4. The kings from Sheba journey there,
    Journey there,
    Gold, frankincense, and myrrh they bear.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  5. His mother is the virgin maid,
    Virgin maid,
    Who gave Him birth with no man’s aid.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  6. The Serpent could not poison Him,
    Poison Him,
    He’s joined our race, yet without sin.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  7. As to the flesh He is our kin,
    Is our kin,
    And yet unlike us as to sin.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  8. Like unto Him we thus are wrought,
    Thus are wrought,
    And back into God’s kingdom brought.
    Alle, Alleluia!

  9. For such a season, rich in grace,
    Rich in grace,
    To God forevermore be praise!
    Alle, Alleluia!

  10. Praise to the Holy Trinity,
    Trinity,
    From now unto eternity!
    Alle, Alleluia!

Puer natus in Bethlehem
Latin folk hymn, 13th c.
German Version: Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem
Geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1545
Tr. Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2014


Latin Text

Tune: Puer natus in Bethlehem

  1. Puer natus in Bethlehem,
    Bethlehem,
    Unde gaudet Jerusalem,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  2. Hic jacet in præsepio,
    Præsepio,
    Qui regnat sine termino,
    Alle, Alleiua.

  3. Cognovit bos et asinus,
    Asinus,
    Quod puer erat dominus,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  4. Reges de Saba veniunt,
    Veniunt,
    Aurum, thus, myrrha offerunt,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  5. De matre natus virgine,
    Virgine,
    Sine virile semine,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  6. Sine serpentis vulnere,
    Vulnere,
    De nostro venit sanguine,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  7. In carne nobis similis,
    Similis,
    Peccato sed dissimilis,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  8. Ut redderet nos homines,
    Homines,
    Deo et sibi similes,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  9. In hoc natali gaudio,
    Gaudio,
    Benedicamus Domino,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  10. Laudetur sancta trinitas,
    Trinitas,
    Deo dicamus gratias,
    Alle, Alleluia.

Latin folk hymn, 13th c.
Source: Valentin Babst’s Geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1545


German Text

Tune: Puer natus in Bethlehem

  1. Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem,
    Bethlehem,
    Des freuet sich Jerusalem,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  2. Hie liegt es in dem Krippelein,
    Krippelein,
    Ohn Ende ist die Herrschaft sein,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  3. Das Öchslein und das Eselein,
    Eselein,
    Erkannten Gott den Herren sein,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  4. Die Kön’g aus Saba kamen dar,
    Kamen dar,
    Gold, Weihrauch, Myrrhen brachtn sie dar,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  5. Sein Mutter ist die reine Magd,
    Reine Magd,
    Die ohn ein Mann geboren hat,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  6. Die Schlang ihn nicht vergifften kund,
    Vergifften kund,
    Ist worden unser Blut ohn Sünd,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  7. Er ist gar uns gleich nach dem Fleisch,
    Nach dem Fleisch,
    Der Sünden nach ist uns nicht gleich,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  8. Damit er ihm uns machet gleich,
    Machet gleich,
    Und wieder bracht zu Gottes Reich,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  9. Für solche gnadenreiche Zeit,
    Reiche Zeit,
    Sei Gott gelobt in Ewigkeit,
    Alle, Alleluia.

  10. Lob sei der heilgen Dreifaltkeit,
    Dreifaltkeit,
    Von nun an bis in Ewigkeit,
    Alle, Alleluia.

Puer natus in Bethlehem
Latin folk hymn, 13th. c.
German version: Anon.
Source: Valentin Babst’s Geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1545, alt.


Available Recordings

There are many recordings of “A Child Is Born in Bethlehem,” in both Latin and German. Here are a few of the best:

  • A setting by Michael Praetorius, performed by Choeur de Chambre de Namur, on the album German Baroque Sacred Music: Christmas, Track 8 (iTunesAmazonMP3)
  • A setting for Tenor and Bass, found in Piae Cantiones, stanzas 1–5, followed by Nikolaus Selnecker’s 1587 arrangement for four voices, stanzas 6–10, performed by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, on the album Piae Cantiones: Early Finnish Vocal Music, Track 11 (iTunesAmazonMP3)
  • Michael Praetorius’s setting from Musae Sioniae, Vol. V, 1607, No. 86, performed by Vokalensemble Con Anima, on the album Die Geburt Jesu: Weihnachtliche Musik der Renaissance aus Mitteldeutschland, Track 25 (iTunesAmazonMP3)
  • A setting by Hans Leo Hassler, in his Psalmen und geistliche Lieder, Nürnberg, 1608, performed by the Peñalosa-Ensemble, on the album Hans Leo Hassler: In dulci jubilo, Track 1 (iTunesAmazonMP3)
  • Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players, on the album Bach: Epiphany Mass, Track 2 (iTunesAmazonMP3)