I made up this macaronic carol text based on a medieval wall painting in the Prior's Room at Shulbrede Priory in Sussex, later the home of Sir Hubert Parry. The carol recalls the legend that birds and animals are given speech at midnight on Christmas Eve. The wall painting also influenced a stained glass window in St. Mary's Church, Iffley, Oxfordshire. The phrase, "Christus natus est: venite adoremus," is the invitatory antiphon for Mattins on Christmas Day." The Latin words, "Quando?" "In hac nocte," "Ubi?" and "In Bethlehem" are found on the wall painting and are intended to mimic the sounds of the birds and animals concerned. br>
The tune "Dent Dale" is a traditional English folksong collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from a certain "Pop" Mason at the Sun Inn, Dent, Cumbria.