The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Nowel el bothe eld and ȝyng

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English
(From MS. Sloan 2593, fol. 75, v0)

Source: Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841)

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display. You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.

Compare: Nowell, Ell, Both Old and Ying - Rickert

Nowel el el el el el el el el el el el el el el el.

Nowel el! bothe eld and ȝyng,
Nowel el! now mow we syng,
In worchepe of our heavene kyng,
    Al-myty God in TrinitÚ.

Lestenyȝt, lordynges, bothe leve and dere,
Lestenyt, ladyis, with glad chere,
A song of merthe now mow ȝe here,
    How Cryst our brother he wolde be.

An aungyl fro hefne was sent ful snel,
He name is clepyd Gabriel,
His ardene he dede ful snel,
    He sat on kne and seyde, Ave!

And he seyde, "Mary, ful of grace,
Hevene and erthe in every place,
With-ine the tyme of lytle space,
    Reconsiled it xuld be."

Mary stod stylle as ony ston,
And to the aungyl che seyde a-non,
"Than herd I nevere of manys mon,
    Me thinkit wonder thou seyst to me."

The aungyl answered a-non ful wel,
"Mary, dryd the never a del,
Thou xalt conseyve a chyld ful wel,
    The holy gost xal schadue the."

Mary on bryst here hand che leyd,
Stylle xe stod, and thus xe seyd,
"Lo me here Godes owyn hand mayd,
    With herte and wil and body fre!"

Mary moderm, mayde myld,
For the love al of thi chyld,
Fro helle pet thou us schyld,
    Amen! amen! now synge we.

Also found in Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (London: Printed by Richards for The Warton Club, 1856), Hymn LX, pp. 83-84.

Editor's Note:

Other versions of this carol on this website:

"Listen, Lordings, both leve and dear" (Nowell, -ell, both Old and Young):

There are other carols on this web site with similar first lines or burdens, although they have very separate themes and lyrics, including:

"Listen, Lordings, Both Old and Young"

This Rose is Railed on a Ryse, Text Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 11, from Ms. Selden B 26, folio 9v.

"Listen, Lordings, Both Great and Small" (Burden: A, a, a, a, Nunc gaudet ecclesia):

"Listen, Lordings, Both More and Less" (Burden: Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria)

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