Adeste Fideles…

The very first Christmas carol that was introduced by my father when I was a kid is the following one which I wanna tell you "Adeste Fideles", which is also being played in Windows Media Player on my blog.

"Adeste Fideles" or "O Come All Ye Faithful" is a Christmas carol commonly attributed to John Francis Wade in approximately 1743. Wade was a Catholic layman and a music teacher, who fled England after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. He went to the English College, Douai which was a refuge for British Catholics after the abdication of James II in 1688. The words may therefore be attributed to Wade or to others, but certainly originate amongst exiled Jacobite Roman Catholics of the 1740s.

The earliest existing manuscript shows both words and tune. It was published in the 1760 edition of Evening Offices of the Church. John Francis Wade included it in his own publication of Cantus Diversi (1751). It also appeared in Samuel Webbe’s An Essay on the Church Plain Chant (1782).

The Latin verses 1-3 and 6 were translated to English by Frederick Oakeley (September 5, 1802 – January 29, 1880) in 1841, with stanzas 4 and 6 being translated by William Thomas Brooke. This translation was first published in Murray’s Hymnal in 1852. Frederick Oakeley was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and was ordained in 1828. In 1845, he converted from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism; he became canon at Westminster Cathedral in 1852.

The title "Adeste Fideles" is usually reserved for the Latin original, and "O Come All Ye Faithful" for the English translation.

It is sometimes referred to as the "Portuguese Hymn" as it was often sung in the Portuguese Embassy in London where Vincent Novello was organist, and who erroneously ascribed the tune to John Redding. It has also on occasions been erroneously attributed to the 13th century saint, Saint Bonaventure.

In the UK it is most often sung today in an arrangement with a descant verse 6 and unison verse 7 by Sir David Willcocks, published in the Oxford Carols for Choirs series.

The final verse (Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning…) is generally omitted before Christmas day, a notable exception being the traditional midnight mass, where the carol is often sung as the final hymn with the last verse included.

The chant "Why Are We Waiting?", which is frequently performed spontaneously at public gatherings to express frustration at delays, is also sung to the same tune.

Latin lyric
First verse and literal (not poetic) translation

Adeste fideles, laeti triumphantes
(Be present, faithful, joyful, triumphant)
Venite, venite in Bethlehem
(Come, come into Bethlehem)
Natum videte, Regem angelorum
(Behold the Newborn, King of angels)
Venite adoremus, venite adoremus
(Come, let us adore; come, let us adore)
Venite adoremus, Dominum.
(Come, let us adore the Lord).

Complete lyrics
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
God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God, begotten not created.
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord
Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above;
Glory to God
Glory In the highest:
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord
See how the shepherds,
Summoned to his cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither
Bend our joyful footsteps;
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord
Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing:
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord


About thomaszhu

"In the designs of Providence. There are no mere coincidences."


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