The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In every place ye may well se

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 #72, 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.

Off all creaturs women be best,
Ejus contrarium verum est.

In every place ye may well se,
That women be trew as tyrtyll on tre;
Not liberall in langag, but ever in secrete,
And gret joy among them is fore to be.

The stedfastnesse off women wil never be don,
So gentyll, so curtes thei be everichon,
Mek as a lambe, styll as a stone;
Crockyd ne crabbyd fynd ye none.

Men be more combres a thowsand fold;
And I mervill who thei dare be so bold,
Ageynst women fore to hold,
Seing them to pacient, soft and cold.

Fore tell a woman all yowr counsayle,
And she cane kepe it wonder weyll;
She had lever go qwyck to hell
Than to hire neyboure she wold it tell.

Fore by women men be reconsyled;
Fore by women was never man begiled;
Fore by woman was never man betraied;
Fore by women was never man bewreyed.

Now sey well by woman, ore elles by styll;
Fore they never displeasid man by ther will;
To be angry ore wroth thei cannot skyll,
Fore I dare sey they thynk no ill.

Trow ye that they lyst to smatter,
Ore ageynst ther husbondes to clatter?
Ney, thei had lever fast bred and water,
Then fore to presse such a matter.

Thowe all the pacience in the world wer drownd,
And nonne were left here on the grownd,
Ageyn in women it might be fownd,
Such vertu in them doth abownd.

To the taverne thei will not goo,
Nore to the ale howse never the moo;
Fore, God wott, ther hates shulbe woo,
To spend ther husbondes money soo.

If here wer a woman ore a mayd,
That list foto go freshly arayd,
Ore with fyne kerchefs to go displaid,
Ye wold saie thei be proud, it is evil said.

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