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In the ninth and tenth centuries arose a new form of hymnody, the Prose or Sequence sung after the Gradual (the anthem between the Epistle and Gospel at Mass). The earliest writer of sequences was Notker, a monk of the abbey of St. Gall, near 33the Lake of Constance. Among those that are probably his work is the Christmas “Natus ante saecula Dei filius.” The most famous Nativity sequence, however, is the “Laetabundus, exsultet fidelis chorus” of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), once sung all over Europe, and especially popular in England and France. Here are its opening verses:—

Exsultet fidelis chorus;
Regem regum
Intactae profudit thorus;
Res miranda!

Angelus consilii
Natus est de Virgine,
Sol de stella!
Sol occasum nesciens,
Stella semper rutilans,
Semper clara.

from "Christmas in Ritual and Tradition" by Clement A Miles