XII Dies Natalis

The "Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English song that probably dates back to the 18th century. The "Twelve Days" of Christmas is the holiday extending from Christmas until the feast day of Epiphany. You can learn more about the "Twelfth Night" tradition in an article at Wikipedia. There is also a Wikipedia article about this carol.

You can find the English lyrics to the carol, with MIDI files and sheet music, at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, along with detailed notes about the history and contents of the carol. In The Annotated Mother Goose by W.S. Baring-Gould and C. Baring-Gould, I learned that the "five golden rings" probably refers to "ringed pheasants," not rings for the fingers. Thus the presents on the first seven days are all birds.

I found this Latin translation online, attributed to Sister Marjorie E. Allen. (I've made one change here to the translation, switching quattuor aves, "four birds," to quattuor corvos, as the English "colly birds" refers to "coal-black birds.")

I was also able to find an easy-to-edit version of the sheet music online, so I've prepared a version of the sheet music with the Latin lyrics pasted in!

Primo die Natalis amator dedit mi
perdicem in piro.


S'cunda die Natalis amator dedit me
d'os turtures
et perdicem in piro.


Tertia die Natalis amator dedit mi
tres gallinas,
d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Quarta die Natalis amator dedit mi
quattuor corvos,
tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Quinta die Natalis amator dedit mi
quinque anulos,
quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Sexta die Natalis amator dedit mi
sex anseres,
quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Sept'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
septem cygnos nantes,
sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Octava die Natalis amator dedit mi
octo quae mulgent,
septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Nona die Natalis amator dedit mi
novem salt'trices,
octo quae mulgent, septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Dec'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
decem salt'tores,
novem salt'trices, octo quae mulgent, septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Undec'ma die Natalis amator dedit me
undecim tibic'nes,
decem salt'tores, novem salt'trices, octo quae mulgent, septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Duodec'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
d'odecim qui pulsant,
undecim tibic'nes, decem salt'tores, novem salt'trices, octo quae mulgent, septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor corvos, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.


Alternate Version. Unattributed, online at this Kealing.org website. I've just listed the items here:

Die primo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Perdice corculum.
Die secundo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Duobus turturibus...
Die tertio Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Tribus gallinis...
Die quarto Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Quattor psittacis...
Die quinto Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Quinque annulis...
Die sexto Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Sex anseribus...
Die septimo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Septem cygnis nantibus...
Die octavo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Octo ancillis...
Die nono Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Novem feminis choream dantibus...
Die decimo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Decem viris saltantibus...
Die undecimo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Undecim tibicinibus tibiis canentibus...
Die duodecimo Christi nati me auxit lepidum
Duodecim tympanistis tympana pulsantibus...



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