The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here
Words and Music attributed to Rev. Richard Smart (or Smerte), Rector (1435-1477) of Plymtree, Devon, and vicar-choral at Exeter Cathedral (1428-ca. 1466). The time of composition was during the reigns of Henry VII or VIII; it was found in the "Ritson Manuscript," British Library MS. Addit 5665, fol. 5, v0.
Source: Joseph Ritson, Observations on the Three First Volumes of the History of English Poetry (London: J. Stockdale, 1782), pp. 36-37, from a manuscript in his possession. Ritson's manuscript would later be donated to the British Library, "Addit. MS. 5665."
In die natiuitat[is].
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
Tydyng[is] gode y thyngke to telle.
The borys hede that we bryng here,
Betokeneth a prnce with owte pere,
Ys born this day to bye v[us] dere.
A bore ys a souerayn beste
And acceptab[l]e in eury feste
So mote thys lord be to moste & leste.
This borys hede we bryng wt song
In worchyp of hym that thus sprang
Of a virgine to redresse all wrong.
Sheet Music from John Stafford Smith, Musica Antiqua. Vol. 1. (London: Printed & Sold by Preston, 1812), #22.
This music is also found in John Stevens, ed., Medieval Carols, Vol. IV of the series Musica Britannica, London: Stainer & Bell, 1958 (Second Revised Edition), #79, p. 66.
In this version, the first line of the first
"The boar's head that I bring here."
For notes concerning this carol, please see The Boar's Head, That We Bring Here (Husk, 1868).
Copies of this carol on this site:
The Boar's Head That We Bring Here - Ritson (1782); first publication in Ritson's Observations on Warton's History of English Poetry (this page)
The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here (Sandys, 1833, with notes)
The borys hede that we bryng here (Thomas Wright, 1841)
The Boar's Head, That We Bring Here (Husk, 1868, with notes)
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