Humanities › History & Culture Lyrics to the Christmas Carol Gloria in Excelsis Deo Share Flipboard Email Print Shotshare/Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Ancient Languages Figures & Events Greece Egypt Asia Rome Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 25, 2019 The refrain of the French Carol translated into English as "Angels We Have Heard on High" is in Latin as "Gloria in Excelsis Deo." Below is one version of the English version of the carol from the same source. The translation from French to English is by Bishop James Chadwick (1813-1882). Review the translations in English and French and learn about the song's history as well as its place in pop culture as we know it today. History of the Music The Christmas carol "Angels We Have Heard on High" was originally written by James Chadwick but played to music from the song 'Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes'. The French carol translates as "The Angels in our Countryside" and was originally created in Languedoc, France despite not knowing who the original composer was. The song meaning is about Jesus Christ as a newborn child and the many angels singing and praising his birth. In Pop Culture Dozens of popular artists have covered the song, from independent singer-songwriters such as Josh Groban, Brian McKnight, Andrea Bocelli, and Christina Aguilera. Groups of musicians and bands such as The Piano Guys, Bad Religion, Bayside, and Glee have also created notable versions of the famous carol. Translations to the song may also be found in Scottish Gaelic, Portuguese, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese amongst others. The English Translation (Angels We Have Heard on High) Angels we have heard on highSweetly singing o'er the plains,And the mountains in replyEchoing their joyous strains.RefrainGloria, in excelsis Deo!Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Shepherds, why this jubilee?Why your joyous strains prolong?What the gladsome tidings beWhich inspire your heavenly song? Refrain Come to Bethlehem and seeHim whose birth the angels sing;Come, adore on bended knee,Christ the Lord, the newborn King. Refrain See Him in a manger laid,Whom the choirs of angels praise;Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,While our hearts in love we raise. Refrain The French Version (Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes) Les anges dans nos campagnesOnt entonné l'hymne des cieux;Et l'écho de nos montagnesRedit ce chant mélodieux.Gloria, in excelsis Deo,Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Bergers, pour qui cette fête?Quel est l'objet de tous ces chants?Quel vainqueur, quelle conquêteMérite ces cris triomphants?Gloria, in excelsis Deo,Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Ils annoncent la naissanceDu libérateur d'Israël,Et pleins de reconnaissanceChantent en ce jour solennel.Gloria, in excelsis Deo,Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Bergers, loin de vos retraitesUnissez-vous à leurs concertsEt que vos tendres musettesFassent retentir dans les airs:Gloria, in excelsis Deo,Gloria, in excelsis Deo. Cherchons tous l'heureux villageQui l'a vu naître sous ses toits,Offrons-lui le tendre hommageEt de nos coeurs et de nos voix!Gloria, in excelsis Deo,Gloria, in excelsis Deo.