Scripture Verse

Drop down, ye heavens, from above. Isaiah 45:8

Introduction

Words: Will­iam Dun­bar (1460–1520).

Music: Ro­rate, tra­di­tion­al Scott­ish tune (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know when the words were writ­ten, or where to get a good pic­ture of Dun­bar (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you send us an e-mail?

Lyrics

Rorate coeli desuper!
Heavens, distil your balmy showers;
For now is risen the bright Daystar,
From the rose Mary, flower of flowers:
The clear Sun, whom no cloud devours,
Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is comen of His heav’nly towers,
Et nobis puer natus est.

Sinners be glad, and penance do,
And thank your Maker heartfully;
For He that ye might not come to,
To you is comen, fully humbly,
Your soulès with His blood to buy,
And loose you of the fiend’s arrest,
And only of His own mercy;
Pro nobis puer natus est.

Celestial fowlès in the air,
Sing with your notès upon the height,
In firthès and in forests fair
Be mirthful now at all your might;
For passèd is your dully night;
Aurora has the cloudès pierced,
The sun is risen with gladsome light,
Et nobis puer natus est.

Sing, heaven imperial, most of height,
Regions of air make harmony,
All fish in flood and fowl of flight,
Be mirthful and make melody;
All Gloria in excelsis cry,
Heaven, earth, sea, man, bird and beast;
He that is crowned above the sky
Pro nobis puer natus est.