The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Every mane in hys degré

Words and Music: Traditional English

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #9, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

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In a blyssefull tyme that mane ys borne,
That may fynd frend to trust upon.

Every mane in hys degré
Cane say, yf he avysyd be,
Ther was more trust in sum thre,
    Than ys now in many on.

This wald ys now all changed new,
So many mene ben found ontrew,
That in trewth lyven but few
    Feythfull to tryst upon.

Sum tym a man my3t tryst another
Better than now hys owne broder;
For thei ben fekyll as well as other;
    For few be trew to tryst upon.

And if thou tell a man thi hart
To kepe it clos as ys hys part
Vij. 3ere after it may the smart;
    For few be trew to tryst upon.

A man's feyth ys now sett at nou3t;
Sum tym therby men sold and bou3t:
Therfor I say thus in my thou3t,
    That few be trew to tryst upon.

Yf thou do by my counsayll,
Thynke well on the after tayll;
I warent the it wyll the avayll;
    For few be trew to tryst upon.

So many men have bene begylyd,
The fader manot tryst hys oune chyld.
I am aferd trost ys exylyd;
    For few be trew to tryst upon.

Yf thou doo for a comonte,
All that now lyyth in the,
Skarsly shalt thou thankyd be;
    For few be trew to tryst upon.

Now no man kan know hys frend,
For doubelnese is so mekyll in mynd;
Thus in fayth at the last 3end
    Few be trew to tryst upon.

Whatsoever thou thynk to do,
Be ware to whom thou spekes unto;
For I trow, whan al is do,
   Few be trew to tryst upon.

Now Jhesu that art heyvyn kyng,
Thowrow thi moders prayyng,
Thou send us all a good endyn;
    For thou art trew to tryst upon.

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