Dum Servant Pecus Pastores

Today's carol is an English song entitled "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night," with words by Nahum Tate (1700). Like any popular song it has been set to many different musical arrangements. You can find English lyrics along with MIDI files and sheet music at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website. There is also a Wikipedia article about this carol.

On the Internet, I've found two different Latin translations, one being much more complete than the other.

Version 1. Latin translation by Robert J.M. Lindsay (this is the Latin version commonly found online).

Dum servant pecus pastores
per noctem quieti,
summo nitore descendit
angelus Domini.

"Metum," inquit, "deponite!"
(pavebant subito);
"Laetitiam terricolis
cunctis pronuntio:

"In urbe David natus est
Davidicae gentis Salvator
qui est Christus Rex.
Signum erit vobis:

"Invenietis puerum
vestitu misero;
monstratus is hominibus
iacet in stabulo."

Haec simul fatus est, turba
fulgens apparuit,
chorus Deum laudantium,
sic laeta cecinit:

"Deo sit tota gloria;
pax fiat in terris;
mortalibusque gratiae
ne umquam sit finis."


Version 2. Translator unknown (I have corrected several typos in the one example of this version which I found online).

Dum nocte humi praesident
pastores gregibus,
lux circumfulsit de caelo:
descendit angelus.

Tum "Ne timete!" monuit
trementis animo.
"Nam vobis atque omnibus
pergrata nuntio.

"In urbe vestra Bethlehem
Davidis de stirpe
Salvator Christus Dominus
est natus hodie."






Here is a performance of the English carol:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This carol is not English. It was written by an Irishman, Nahum Tate, in 1700 and first published in 1702

Laura Gibbs said...

Thank you for the information! By English, I mean only that it is written in the English language.