Program & Notes: THE ROSE ENSEMBLE Celebremos el Niño

In this note:

  • Program
  • Program notes
  • About the Rose Ensemble
  • Translations of song texts

Houston Early Music 


The Religion and the Arts Council,

Christ Church Cathedral 



Celebremos el Niño:

Delights of the Mexican Baroque 


Jordan Sramek, Founder/Artistic Director 

Kathy Lee, Kim Sueoka, Carrie Shaw (soprano)

Lisa Drew, Linda Kachelmeier, Kristine Kautzman (alto)

Craig Lemming, Jordan Sramek (tenor)

Tim O’Brien (baritone, percussion) w Scott Sandersfeld (bass) 

with instrumentalists

Julie Elhard (viola da gamba) w Phillip Rukavina (vihuela da mano) w Ginna Watson (Baroque violin) 


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christ Church Cathedral

1117 Texas Ave.  


Preconcert talk

Guests of Houston Early Music stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. 

Houston Early Music is funded in part by grants from the

City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance,

Texas Commission on the Arts

and National Endowment for the Arts 



MOTET: Deus in Adiutorium     Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (ca. 1590-1664) 

VILLANCICO: *Atención, atención (1698)   Antonio de Salazar (ca. 1650-1715)

BAILE: Serenissima una noche     Fray Gerónimo Gonzáles (fl. 1600) 

XÁCARA: Los que fueren de buen gusto    Francisco de Vidales (d. 1702)

Instrumental setting of the popular tune La Spagna  Anonymous, 16th century 

Gloria (from Missa Ego Flos Campi)     Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla 

ROMANCE: Hermoso amor (1671)    Juan García de Zéspedes (ca. 1619-1678)

DUO: **Risueña la aurora     Anonymous, Duran Choirbook (18th century) 

NEGRILLA: A siolo flasiquiyo    Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla  


DUO: Al dormir el sol       Sebastián Durón (1660-1716) 

¡Hombres, victoria, victoria!           Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)  

NEGRO: Tarara tarara qui yo soy Anton   Antonio de Salazar

GALLEGO: Ay galeguiños     Fabián Ximeno Perez (ca. 1595-1654) 

GUARACHA: Convidando esta la noche   Juan García de Zéspedes  

*Recently transcribed by Craig Russell from a manuscript in the archives of the Catedral Metropolitana de México, this villancico (for the Virgin of Guadalupe) just received its modern-day premiere with The Rose Ensemble. 

**Recently transcribed from a manuscript currently housed by the Bancroft Library and with an accompaniment composed by musicologist by Craig Russell, this Letra a duo para Navidades (Vernacular Christmas song for 2 voices) just received its modern-day premiere with The Rose Ensemble.




Seventeeth-century street and dance music became fashionable even in high society during the Mexican Baroque, as Spanish composers used the vivid rhythms and energy of thexácara to drive forward the plots of operas and to introduce theatrical excitement into church music.  Even in the Christmas villancicos by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla and by his successor as maestro, Juan García de Zéspedes, the texts draw the listeners’ attention to the secular origins of the music: "On with the xácara!" and "Celebrate with the guaracha."  

The attitude of the church authorities to villancicos in the guise of a xácara, guaracha, or negrilla (villancicos depicting the song and dance of African slaves in the Spanish colonies) could almost be seen as "neutral" – while the dances were repeatedly condemned as excessively arousing.  Pedro Cerone, author of a famous 17th-century treatise, defended the villancicos:  "I would not like to say villancicos are bad thing, for they are received in all Spanish churches, and were it not for them, it would not be possible to reach the appropriate heights of solemn celebration. . . . There are some people so lacking in piety that they attend church but once a year, and miss all the Masses of Obligation, because they are too lazy to get up out of bed.  But let it be known that there will be villancicos, and there is no one more devout in the whole place, none more vigilant than these people, for there is no church, oratory or shrine that they will not visit, nor do they mind getting up in the middle of the night in the freezing cold, just to hear them."  

Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla was a Mexican of Spanish birth who served as chapel master at Puebla, Mexico from 1629 until his death.  Born in the Andalusian city of Málaga in 1590, Padilla imigrated to Mexico in 1622, where he served the community of Pueblo from that year to the time of his death in 1664.  Like virtually all composers of the time, Padilla received his earliest music training in the choir of his local cathedral and, like many others, he took on his first assignment as a cathedral maestro.  But early in his career, he chose to come to the Américas, committed to a place to live and work, and never looked back. In many ways, Padilla’s output is part of the musical legacy of Mexico rather than Spain. By the age of 23 he was already maestro of the Cathedral of Jerez, and three years later, of Cádiz Cathedral. By October of 1622 he was already at Puebla Cathedral as singer and co-maestro; in 1629 he was named full maestro, and began composing prolifically.  

Like his setting of the Gloria, much of Padilla’s Latin sacred music is scored for double-choir. The mass setting Ego flos campi is what is known as a "parody mass," meaning that the polyphony (structured harmony) is based upon and created by using melodic fragments and passages from a previously written motet (in this case, one entitled Ego flos campi).  Strangely, the original motet has not survived, but one thing is certain: Padilla takes considerable liberties with the liturgical Latin text, creating refrains that suggest almost a folk style filled with religious fervor (in the Gloria, notice how the second choir repeats bonae voluntatis – "Goodwill to all!" – again and again). 

Juan García de Zéspedes was appointed as soprano at Puebla Cathedral in 1630. When maestro Padilla refused to teach, Zéspedes took over much of this work.  In 1664 he succeeded maestro Padilla in an interim capacity. The title of maestro became permanent in 1670.  Although censured by the cathedral chapter more than once over disagreements as to his duties, Zéspedes had a long career ended by his paralysis late in life. 

Antonio de Salazar was born in Spain, but later moved to Mexico and became one of the most famous Mexican composers. He was chapel master of Puebla Cathedral and later at the Mexico City Cathedral.  Like Padilla, Salazar also composed several villancicos, negrillas  and canzonetas for feast days.  The Rose Ensemble is pleased to feature on this program Salazar’s Atención, Atención (a villancico for the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe), recently transcribed from a manuscript in the archives of the Catedral Metropolitana de México by California-based musicologist Craig H. Russell. 

Program notes by, Jordan Sramek, inspired in part by the research and writings of musicologists Robert Stephenson and Andrew Laurence-King.   

The Rose Ensemble

Founded in 1996 and based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, The Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient with vocal music that strives to stir the emotions, challenge the mind and lift the spirit. With nine critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the United States and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages, including new research in European, Middle Eastern, Hawaiian and early American vocal traditions.  

The recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and a first-place winner in the sacred music category at the 2007 Tolosa International Choral Competition (Spain), the group’s concerts and recordings have been called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “impassioned and brightly alive” (Choral Journal) and “engaging . .. satisfying” (Gramophone).  

The Rose Ensemble can be heard regularly on American Public Media and the European Broadcasting Union (most notably with annual Christmas broadcasts) and was recently featured in special live broadcasts on Radio France, Chicago Public Radio, Vermont Public Radio and National Public Radio’s Performance Today

Recent European appearances include La Fabbrica del Canto (Milan), Festival Musique en Morvan (Burgundy), Festival des Choeurs Laureats in Vaison (Provence) Festival d’Ile de France(Paris, France) and Festival de Musiques Anciennes (Tours, France). The group’s 2009-10 season will see approximately 75 more performances, including appearances in Italy and Germany, as well as several tours across the United States.

The Rose Ensemble’s latest recording, “Il Poverello,” is a diverse collection of medieval and Renaissance vocal and instrumental music for Saint Francis of Assisi.  



Texts and Translations 

Deus in adiutorium meum intende.   O God, come to my assistance!

Domine ad adiuvandum me festina.  Lord, make haste to help me!

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.   Glory to the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,  As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever,

et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.    world without end. Amen.

Alleluia.      Alleluia.  

Atención, Atención, Atención,    Attention, Attention, Attention!

que si copia la pluma la mano es de un Dios,  that if the pen writes, it is the hand of God that moves it.

Atención, Atención, Atención!    Attention, Attention, Attention!

que si copia la pluma la mano es de un Dios.  if the pen writes, the hand is that of God. 

La mano es de un Dios     It is the hand of God

la que quiso copiar el retrato mejor   that sought to capture the best likeness

Atención, Atención, Atención!    Attention, Attention, Attention 

El aparejó invisible se aparejó  de esta echura  He primed the invisible canvas, he prepared for this

aun antes que hubiera mundo ni que fuese  project even before there was a world or anything in it.

cosa alguna.  

El divujo fue en prophetas ya en enigmas   The sketch was in the prophecies, either in riddles

ya en figures     or in figures

el pintarse fue un instante en que se   and it was painted in the very instant in

consibe pura.      which it was conceived. 

El traslado fue inocultis en una manta que  Its transfer was in secret in a blanket

anuda a su cuello un indio pobre que por   tied round the neck of a poor Indian man

incapaz recusan     rejected as unfit. 

Dispone la en ademán las manos    He displays it in a gesture of his hands, together

altas y juntas de resevir siendo en quien  and upraised, receiving from He who wields the

allí el pinsel executa.    painter’s brush. 

Serenissima una noche    Calm was the night

mas que si fuera un infante    when the baby shone forth

en lo crespo de diciembre    like a star

quiso por dicha estrellarse.    in the cool of December. 

Ande el baile      Come to the dance,

y al sol que a nasido     and to the sun,

por dios verdadero    for the child of the true God is born.

oi todos le aclamen.     Today let us all acclaim Him. 

"Los que fueren de buen gusto,   All those who have good taste, 
óiganme una xacarilla      listen to the nice new xácara 
que he de cantar en Belén."    I’m going to sing in Bethlehem.’ 
"¡Siempre el garbo y la voz!    ‘A jaunty style and voice are always needed, 
Yo la cantaré también ".     so I’ll sing it too.’ 
"¿Cómo qué, cómo qué?"    ‘What’s all this, what’s all this?’ 
"A que só me toca a mí,    ‘I’m the one to do it, 
y el porque yo me lo sé."    because I know how to.’  
"Cómo qué, cómo qué?"    ‘What’s all this, what’s all this?’ 
"Pues quitémonos de ruidos   ‘Come on, let’s stop shouting 
y cantemos a las tres. "     and let’s sing all three of us together.’ 
"Tres a tres y una a una,     ‘Three by three and one by one,

¡vaya, vaya de xácara, pues.    "on to the xácara, then!

Coplas:       Stanzas: 

En el mesón de la luna     In the Moon Inn 
junto a la Puerta del Sol     next to the Gate of the Sun, 
del cielo de una doncella     a young girl brought down from heaven 
en tierra un lucero dió.     a star to us on earth. 
A ser galán de las almas     So as to become the suitor of souls 
el Verbo al hielo nació,     the Word of God was born to the freezing world,  
que lo tomó con fineza     which took him with grace  
pero con poco calor.     but with little warmth.

Sin duda el Jayán divino     Doubtless the divine Giant 
– ya naçe a morir de amor,    willed his birth that he might die of love, 
pues cuando se emboza el rostro    for when he hides his face 
me descubre el coraçón.     he opens up his heart to me. 
Por ser de la Trinidad    Being one of the Trinity 
vino por la redempçión.     he came down for our redemption. 
Metióse en Santa María,     He entered unto Holy Mary 
ya dado en San Salvador.    and so became our Holy Savior. 
"Tres a tres y una a una,     ‘Three by three and one by one, 
¡vaya, vaya de xácara, pues!"    on to the xácara, then!’

Metióse en cuna de nieve,    He settled into a snowy cradle, 
que no es nuevo en su afiçión   for there is nothing new, given his love, 
dexarse llevar del agua    in the spirit of God 
el espíritu de Dios.     being borne along by water. 
Al soberano Cupido     The sovereign Cupid was wounded 
desde que naçe le hirió     by the arrow from the moment of birth, 
la flecha, que en el desnudo   for a dart wounds flesh 
hiere más presto el harpón.    more readily when naked. 
A matar vi-vino a la muerte,    He came to slay death, 
picado de que el amor     spurred on by love’s 
le dió una herida mortal,     having dealt him a mortal blow, 
y fue porque le encarnó.     and ’twas because he was incarnated. 
Que no se caiga el portal     That the gates [of Bethlehem] did not fall down 
es un milagro de Dios.    is one of God’s miracles. 
Bien puede el Jayán haçer    Well may the Giant remark 
cuenta que ha naçido hoy.    that today he has been born. 
" Tres a tres y una a una,     ‘Three by three and one by one, 
¡vaya, vaya de xácara, pues! "   on to the xácara, then!’

Se anda perdonando vidas,    He goes about forgiving our lives, 
muy preçiado de león,     prized greatly as a lion, 
y le suele haçer llorar    yet tears are brought to his eyes 
el más pobre pecador.    by the poorest sinner. 
El naçer en la campaña    His birth on the battlefield 
es prueba de su valor,     is proof of his valor, 
y esperarle cuerpo a cuerpo   and to encounter him hand to hand 
es cosa de confesión.     is a matter for the confessional. 
El sangriento açero esgrime   Like Herod he wields a bloody blade, 
Herodes, que en su región    seeking, in the name of the Lord, 
contener mala conçiencia    to suppress evil thinking 
deseaba ver de Dios.     within his kingdom on earth. 
¡Bien haya la xacarilla     Hurrah for our little xácara 
y el padre que la engendró,    and for the father who begot it, 
y a las que también la cantan    and as for those who sing it, 
buenas Pascuas las dé Dios!    may God grant them a happy Christmas! 
" Tres a tres y una a una,‘    Three by three and one by one, 
¡vaya, vaya de xácara, pues! "    on to the xácara, then!’

Gloria in excelsis Deo:     Glory be to God on high:

Et in terra pax hominibus    And in earth peace,

bonae voluntatis.    goodwill towards all people.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te,    We praise thee, we bless thee,

adoramus te, glorificamus te,    we worship thee, we glorify thee,

gratias agimus tibi propter   we give thanks to thee

magnam gloriam tuam.     for thy great glory. 

Domine Deus Rex caelestis    O Lord God, heavenly King,

Deus Pater omnipotens,     God the Father almighty,

Domine Fili unigenite     O Lord the only-begotten Son

Iesu Christe.      Jesus Christ,

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei   O Lord God, Lamb of God,

Filius Patris     Son of the Father 

Qui tollis peccata mundi     That takest away the sins of the world

miserere nobis,      have mercy upon us.

qui tollis peccata mundi     Thou that takest away the sins of the world,

suscipe deprecationem nostram,    receive our prayer.

qui sedes ad dexteram Patris    Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father

miserere nobis.      have mercy upon us.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus,    For thou only art holy,

tu solus Dominus,     thou only art the Lord,

tu solus altissimus, Iesu Christe   thou only O Christ, art most high

miserere nobis     have mercy upon us

cum sancto spiritu     with the Holy Ghost

in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.   in the glory of God the Father. Amen. 

Hermoso amor que forxas    Beauteous love, you who forge

tus flechas de las paxas     your darts from straw,

temblando a mis rigores     trembling at my harshness,

ardiendote a tus ancias.     burning in your longing 

De que suerte zeñido     In what manner will you, held fast,

Podras vibrar las jaras     be able to let fly your arrows

si te apriçiona el yelo     if ice holds you prisoner and

y te nieua la escarcha     the frost snows upon you? 

Si no es que dan tus ojos    If not that your eyes send forth

Rayos que soles fraguan     beams that forge suns

quando te ven qual niño     when they see such a child as you

con las manos faxadas     with assaulted hands 

Mas ay que disparas     But oh you let fly

suspiros ardientes     ardent sights

que el pecho me abrasan     that burn my breast

Y con lagrimas tiernas     and with tender tears

Rindes las almas     you give back souls. 

Yngenioso artificio     Your clever device,

tuuo tu idea rara     your rare idea,

en humanas finezas     to redeem misfortunes

Por Redimir desgracias     through kind human acts. 

Risueña la aurora con claro arrebol   Smiling, the dawn with a clear red glow

Da señas festivas de un divino Sol.   Gives festive signs of a divine Sun. 

Rendidos aplausos los astros le den   Let the stars greet him with devoted applause

y a la Reina Aurora saluden tambien.   and hail the Queen of Dawn as well. 

La Aurora es María que ha parido hoy   The Dawn is Mary, who has given birth today;

al Sol de justicia a adorarle voy.    I am going to adore the Sun of Justice. 

Angelitos bellos cantad, pues cantad   Let beautiful cherubs softly sing

el Gloria in excelsis Deo consuavidad.   the Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

Los hombres devotos adoran y ven   Devout men adore him and see

que les ha venido el más rico bien.   that the finest gift has come to them. 

Repitan las aves movidas de amor   Repeat Mary’s praises inspired by love,

el ave María con dulce primor.    the “Ave Maria” with sweetness and grace.


A siolo flasiquiyo    ‘Ah, Mr. Francisco!’

¿que manda siol Thome?    ‘At your command, Mr. Tomás!’

¿tenemo tura trumenta     ‘Do we have all the instruments

templarita cum cunsielta?    tuned up together?’

Si siolo ven pote     ‘Yes sir, you could well

auisa bosa mise,      tell your lady

que sa lo moleno ya,    That the dark-skinned folk are about to appear,

cayendo de pularrisa     falling about with laughter

y muliendo pol bayla     and dying to start dancing.’

llamalo llamalo aplisa     ‘Call them out right away,

que a veniro lo branco ya,    for the White One has come now

y lo niño aspelandosa,    – the resplendent Child –

y se aleglala, ha ha ha ha,    and he will rejoice, ha ha ha ha!,

con lo zambamba, ha ha ha ha,    with the zambomba [friction drum], ha ha ha ha!,

con lo guacambe con lo cascave    with guacambe-dancing and bell-ringing.’

Si siñolo Thome     ‘Yes, Mr. Tomás,

repicamo lo rrabe     we’ll strum the rebec

ya la panderetiyo Anton     and Antón jingling the tambourine,

baylalemo lo neglo al son.    all we black people will dance to their sounds.’ 


Tumbucutu cutu cutu    Toomboocootoo…

y toquemo pasito querito    and let’s play gently, softly,

no pantemo a lo niño sesu.    lest we disturb baby Jesus. 

Turu neglo de Guinea     All of us, blacks from Guinea,

que venimo combirara     have come and we’ll invite

A detla e su criara,     Andrea and her maid,

munglave con su liblea     and Mongrave in his livery.

y pluque lo branco vea     And so that the White One may see

quere branco nos selvimo    we love white, we’ll dress

con vayal de un tamo plimo    in fine, fleecy white cotton

y haleme a lo niño bu.     and give the babe a bit of a scare. 

De merico y silujano     Let Miguel dress up quickly

se vista Mi[n]guel aplisa     as a doctor-surgeon,

pues nos culase su clisa     so the knife in his hand

las helilas con su mano     may heal our wounds.

bayle el canario y viyano     Dance the canario and the villano,

mas no pase pol deltas    but don’t step behind

de mula que da lasas     a mule that kicks out,

de toro que dira mu.     nor a bull that goes moo. 

Antoniyo con su sayo     Antonio, wearing the smock

que tluxo re pueltorrico     he brought from Puerto Rico,

Saldra vestiro re mico     will come out dressed as a monkey,

y Miguel de papangayo     and Miguel as a parrot.

Y quando yegue adorayo    And when he goes up to adore

al niño le dira asi t    he babe he’ll say to him:

si tu yo lamo pol mi    ‘if you cry for me,

yo me aleglamo pol tu.     I’ll be made happy by you.’ 

Al dormir el sol, en la cuna del alva con arrullos  When the sun sleeps in the cradle of dawn,

con halagos con olores le mezen le aplauden  with cooing, soothing words and sweet scents

le cantan los Angeles puros los zefiros gratos  do the pure Angels, the pleasant breezes,

las fertiles flores las liquidas fuentes   the plentiful flowers, liquid fountains,

las rapidas aves las debiles auras.    the swift birds, the airy currents rock Him,

Y todos humildes dizen aIuna voz   praise Him, and sing to Him in humbled unison:

roro rororo dormid, dormid niño Dios.    roro rororo, sleep, sleep Divine Child. 

Los Angeles puros con dulze canzion   The pure Angels with dulcet strains

la cuna le mezen al dormido amor.   gently rock Love asleep in his cradle.

No le disperteis, no, no pues su amante voz  Hush! Wake him not, no; and the

el aire repite con leve rumor    sweet-voiced breeze reports in hushed tone:

roro rororo dormid, dormid niño Dios.   roro, rororo, sleep, sleep, Divine Child. 

Los zefiros gratos con huella    The agreeable zephyrs do nimbly trip

veloz moviendo las plantas no pisan la flor.  amidst grasses without treading the bloom.

No le disperteis, no, no pues su acorde union  Hush! Wake him not, no; and their harmonious

se inflama y entona con tierno fabor   congress with passion and tender sentiment intone:

roro rororo dormid, dormid niño Dios.     roro, rororo, sleep, sleep, Divine Child. 

Las fertiles flores con salvas de olor   The bountiful blossoms exhale volleys of

perfumes exalan en suave prision.   perfume from petaled prison.

No le disperteis, no, no pues su inspiracion  Hush! Wake him not, no; their aromatic

el catre le mullen cantando una voz.   breathiness fluffs up his crib, and sings with one voice:

roro rororo dormid, dormid niño Dios.   roro, rororo, sleep, sleep, Divine Child.

¡Hombres, victoria, victoria!    Victory, men! 
que contra todo el infierno    The crying of a tender child 
el llorar de un niño tierno asegura   assures our glory against all of Hell.

nuestra gloria. 
El sobresalto y la guerra nasçió de nuestra  Terror and war were born of our fall

ayda y agora Dios nos combida    and God prophesies to us 
con gloria y paz en la tierra.   glory and peace on earth. 
Vida y alegre Victoria    Life and joyous victory 
nos da apesar del infierno,    He gives us in spite of Hell. 
el llorar de un niño.     The crying of a tender child. 

Tarara tarara qui yo soy Anton   Tada, tada, I am Anthony,

ninglito li nacimiento    black by birth,

qui lo canto lo mas y mijo    and I sing loud and clear. 

Yo soy Anton molinela     I am Anthony the Moor

y ese niño qui nacio     and the newborn child,

hijo es li unos lablalola     son of working folk,

li tula mi estimacion.     has all my esteem. 

Pul eso mi sonajiya     And thus with my rattle,

cascabela y atambo     my bells, and my tambourine,

voy a bayla yo a Belena,     I shall go to Bethlehem

pultilica y camalon     to dance the Puerto Rico and the Cameroun. 

Milalo quantu pastola     Just look at all those shepherds

buscando a la niño Dios,    searching for the God-child,

van curriendo a las pultale    they run to the stable

pala daye la adolacion.     to offer their adoration. 

La sagala chilubina     The youthful cherubs,

vistila li risplandor,     splendidly attired,

las conta sus viyancica,     sing out their carols

gluria cun compas y son.     with good rhythm and fine sounds. 

Ay ay galeguiños, ay ay que lo veyo   Oh, Galician folk, Oh, I see him,

mas ay que lo miro     Oh, I look at him,

ay que lo veyo en un pesebriño     Oh, I see him in a manger.

Ay ay o filo de Deus, ay ay que a la terra vino  Oh, the Son of God, Oh, He came to earth,

ay ay que lo veyo, mas ay que lo miro   Oh, I see him, Oh, I look at him,

ay que lo veyo en un portaliño   Oh, I see him in his little cradle. 

Ay soen gantiñas [gaitiñas]e dai mil boltiñas  O let the bagpipes sound

ay tocai las flautiñas     and the pipes play

tambem los pandeiros     as well as the tambourines,

ay ay que face pucheros     for he smiles

por mis amoriños.     as I cuddle him. 

Convidando está  la noche    Night-time was an invitation

aquí de músicas varias     for various bands

Al recién nacido infante     to sing tender, joyful hymns

canten tiernas alabanzas     to the new-born babe. 

¡Ay, que me abraso, ay! divino dueño, ay!  Ah, how I burn, divine master,

en la hermosura, ay! de tus ojuelos, ¡ay!   in the beauty of your little eyes!

¡Ay, cómo llueven, ay! ciento luceros, ay!  Ah, how a hundred stars pour down

rayos de gloria, ay! rayos de fuego, ¡ay!   rays of glory, rays of fire!

¡Ay, que la gloria, ay! del portaliño, ay!   Ah, how the glory of the little gate [of Bethlehem]

ya viste rayos, ay! si arroja hielos, ¡ay!   is bathed in sunlight even as it shoots out icy shafts!

¡Ay, que su madre, ay! como en su espero, ay!  Ah, how his mother, as if in hope,

mira en su lucencia, ay! sus crecimientos, ¡ay!  watches him grow in the light he creates! 

Alegres cuando festivas     Whereupon some lovely, festive girls

unas hermosas zagales     intoned novel

Con novedad entonaron     comic interludes as

juguetes por la guaracha.     the guaracha was being danced. 

¡En la guaracha, ay! le festinemos, ay!   Let us toast the child with our guaracha

mientras el niño, ay! se rinde al sueño, ¡ay!  while he goes to sleep!

¡Toquen y bailen, ay! porque tenemos, ay!   Let them play and dance, because we have

fuego en la nieve, ay! nieve en el fuego, ¡ay!  fire in the snow, snow in the fire!

¡Pero el chicote, ay! a un mismo tiempo, ay!  But the little fellow at one and the same time

llora y se ríe, ay! qué dos extremos, ¡ay!   cries and laughs, what two extremes!

¡Paz a los hombres, ay! dan de los cielos, ay!  Peace from heaven to all men is given;

a Dios las gracias, ay! porque callemos, ¡ay!  et all give thanks to God, that we now may be silent!