The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Went In A Mery Mornyng

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 #52, 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.

    In what estate soever I be,
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

As I went in a mery mornyng,
I hard a byrd bothe wep and syng;
Thys was the tenowr of her talkyng,
            Timor, etc.

I asked that byrd what sche ment.
I am a musket bothe fayer and gent,
For dred of deth I am al schent;
            Timor, etc.

Whan I schal dey I know no day,
What countre or place I can not sey;
Wherfor thys song syng I may,
            Timor, etc.

Jhesu Cryst, whane he schuld dey,
To hys fader he gan sey,
Fader, he seyd, in trinyte,
            Timor, etc.

Al crysten pepull behold and se,
This world is but a vanyte,
And replet with necessyte;
            Timor, etc.

Wak I or sclep, ete or drynke,
Whan I on my last end do thynk,
For grete fer my sowle do shrynke;
            Timor, etc.

God fraunte us grace hym for to serve,
And be at owr end whan we sterve,
And frome the fynd he us preserve;
            Timor, etc.

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