Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
William Dunbar. 1465–1520?
  
20. On the Nativity of Christ
  
RORATE coeli desuper! 
  Hevins, distil your balmy schouris! 
For now is risen the bricht day-ster, 
  Fro the rose Mary, flour of flouris: 
  The cleir Sone, quhom no cloud devouris,         5
Surmounting Phebus in the Est, 
  Is cumin of his hevinly touris: 
    Et nobis Puer natus est. 
 
Archangellis, angellis, and dompnationis, 
  Tronis, potestatis, and marteiris seir,  10
And all ye hevinly operationis, 
  Ster, planeit, firmament, and spheir, 
  Fire, erd, air, and water cleir, 
To Him gife loving, most and lest, 
  That come in to so meik maneir;  15
    Et nobis Puer natus est. 
 
Synnaris be glad, and penance do, 
  And thank your Maker hairtfully; 
For he that ye micht nocht come to 
  To you is cumin full humbly  20
  Your soulis with his blood to buy 
And loose you of the fiendis arrest— 
  And only of his own mercy; 
    Pro nobis Puer natus est. 
 
All clergy do to him inclyne,  25
  And bow unto that bairn benyng, 
And do your observance divyne 
  To him that is of kingis King: 
  Encense his altar, read and sing 
In holy kirk, with mind degest,  30
  Him honouring attour all thing 
    Qui nobis Puer natus est. 
 
Celestial foulis in the air, 
  Sing with your nottis upon hicht, 
In firthis and in forrestis fair  35
  Be myrthful now at all your mycht; 
  For passit is your dully nicht, 
Aurora has the cloudis perst, 
  The Sone is risen with glaidsum licht, 
    Et nobis Puer natus est.  40
 
Now spring up flouris fra the rute, 
  Revert you upward naturaly, 
In honour of the blissit frute 
  That raiss up fro the rose Mary; 
  Lay out your levis lustily,  45
Fro deid take life now at the lest 
  In wirschip of that Prince worthy 
    Qui nobis Puer natus est. 
 
Sing, hevin imperial, most of hicht! 
  Regions of air mak armony!  50
All fish in flud and fowl of flicht 
  Be mirthful and mak melody! 
  All Gloria in excelsis cry! 
Heaven, erd, se, man, bird, and best,— 
  He that is crownit abone the sky  55
    Pro nobis Puer natus est! 
 
GLOSS:  schouris] showers.  cumin] come, entered.  seir] various.  erd] earth.  lest] least.  synnaris] sinners.  benyng] benign.  attour] over, above.  perst] pierced.  raiss] rose.  best] beast.
 
 
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