O come, all ye faithful
if you do not hear the tune, click
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, born the king of angels.
O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
True God of true God, Light of light eternal,
our lowly nature he hath not abhorred;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created....................refrain
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God all glory in the highest............................refrain
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing................refrain
Francis Wade, ca. 1743.
Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes, Sts. 1,3-4, rev. form, Office de St.
Omer, 1822. St. 2, Etienne J. F. Borderies (1764- 1832), 1822; Sts. 1,3-4, tr.
Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880), Oakeley manuscript, 1841, alt.; Murray's
Hymnal, 1852; St. 2, tr. William Mercer (1811-1873), 1854; Mercer's Church
Psalter and Hymn Book, 1854
Tune: Attrib. to
John Francis Wade (ca. 1711-1786), Wade manuscript, ca. 1743, Samuel Webbe's
Essay on the Church Plain Chant, 1st ed., 1782.
origins of this hymn were long a mystery, John Stephan (Adeste Fideles: A Study
on Its Origin and Development, Buckfast Abbey, 1947) has provided extensive
evidence that John Wade wrote both the text and tune of this very familiar
carol. It has been found in several manuscripts bearing Wade's signature,
including the earliest dated around 1743.
Wade was a
musician and copyist in the Catholic center (Office de St. Omer) of Douay,
France, where many English religious and political dissidents found refuge.
There he provided calligraphy and music manuscripts for Catholic chapels and
families, among them this "guided tour" of Jesus' birth. The second stanza, part
of the Nicene Creed that explains the nature of Christ, is a bit of teaching
commentary along the way of the tour. It is from the later Office de St. Omer
(1822), almost certainly by Abbé Etienne Jean François Borderies, who was
consecrated bishop of Versailles in 1827. Oakeley's translation of 1841 begins
"Ye faithful, approach ye." In his Hymnal Murray revises the opening phrase to
its present form.
The tune name
ADESTE FIDELES is the same as the opening words of the original Latin hymn. It
appears in triple meter in all the earliest manuscripts; then Webbe published
the melody in duple meter in 1782, and ten years later it appeared in a
four-part setting in his Collection of Motetts or Antiphons. The refrain is an
example of a "fuguing tune," popular in the nineteenth-century singing schools,
in which voices enter the tune in imitation of each other.
(from Hymnal Companion, Brethren Press,
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