The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Man be war or thou knyte the fast

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 #24, 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.

See notes under Man, be war, the way ys sleder

Man, be war, or thou knyte the fast,
Oftyn ran rewth at the last,
This wrat I oftyn, poverte partyth company,
Red this and ly not.

What! why dedist thou wynk whan thou a wyf toke?
Thou haddest never mor ned brodde to loke,
A man that wedyth a wyfe whan he wynkyth,
But he star afterward, wonder me it thynkyth.

Man, have this in thi mynd,
What thou doest with thyn hond, that shalt thou fynd.
Wyves be rekeles, chyldren be onkynd,
Excecuturs be covetys and hold that thei fynd.

I saw iij. hedles playen at a ball;
On hanles man served hem all;
Whyll iij. monthles men lay and low,
iij. legles men awy hem drow.

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