I’ve been meaning to learn this song ever since I heard that it is thoroughly HATED by many in the local SCA groups.  It’s the Achy Breaky Heart of medieval music, I suppose.  Everyone in the SCA has heard it so many times that it’s like shards of glass in the ears.  My partner, who has been in the SCA for roughly 2 decades now, tells me it slowly drains his will to live.

However, the rest of the world is not so well versed in nativity songs sung in obsolete languages, at least not in the piece of my world that isn’t occupied by medieval re-enacting.  Thus I found myself desperately memorising lyrics just days before my college Christmas party, so that I could sing Latin a-capella in front of people who don’t hear that sort of thing very often.

Gaudete is genuinely medieval, being published in 1582 in Piae Cantiones.  

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.

Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.

Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.

Ergo nostra contio
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.

These lyrics roughly translate out to the following:

Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born
(Out) Of the Virgin Mary — rejoice!

The time of grace has come—
This that we have desired,
Verses of joy
Let us devoutly return.

God has become man,
To the wonderment of Nature,
The world has been renewed
By the reigning Christ.

The closed gate of Ezekiel
Is passed through,
Whence the light is born,
Salvation is found.

Therefore let our gathering
Now sing in brightness
Let it give praise to the Lord:
Greeting to our King.

My rendition of the song can be found here:  Gaudete

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