Orientis Reges Tres

Today's song is the wonderful English carol, We Three Kings of Orient Are, composed by John Henry Hopkins in 1857. You can find the sheet music by Hopkins at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, along with MIDI files and sheet music for other arrangements of the music.

A reference to the "wise men" and a list of their gifts can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, but the names of the wise men and other legends about them are extra-Biblical. You can find a detailed and highly informative discussion of these legends, including how the "wise men" came to be viewed as "kings" at the Hymns and Carols website. Down towards the bottom of the page there is a wonderful chart listing the different names attributed to the wise men in the different traditions. In Greek, they are Apellius, Amerius and Damascus; in Hebrew, Galgalat, Malgalat and Sarachin; in Persian, Hormizdh, Yazdegerd and Perozadh; in Ethiopian, Hor, Basanater and Karsudan; in Syrian, Larvandad, Hormisdas and Gushynasaph; in Armenian, Kagpha, Badadilma and Badadakharida.

I found this Latin translation on the Internet, attributed to Minnie Shepard. It features the traditional Latin names of the wise men: Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior.

Orientis reges tres
procul dona portantes
per campos et montes imus,
stell(am) illam sequentes.

O stella potens et mira,
stella regalis pulchra,
semper movens ad occasum
duc nos ad claram lucem.

Infans nate Bethlehem,
portamus hanc coronam,
Rex aeterne, sempiterne,
Domine terrarum.


Tus Sabaeum tibi fero,
Tus dignum magno Deo;
Te laudantes et orantes
colimus in caelo.


Myrrh(am) amaram defero;
Circum te fumat caligo,
te languentem et gementem,
condit(um) in tumulo.


Clarus surgit! O! Specta!
Deus, rex, et victima!
Alleluia, alleluia,
canunt cael(um) et terra.


No comments: