The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The fyrst day of ȝole have we in mynd

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English
Bodleian Library. MS. Eng. poet. e. 1. XV Century.

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #19, 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.

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Make we myrth
For Crystes byrth,
    And syng we ȝole tyl Candelmes.

The fyrst day of ȝole have we in mynd,
How God was man born of owre kynd;
For he the bondes wold onbynd
    Of all owre synnes and wykednes.

The secund day we syng of Stevene,
That stoned and steyyed up even
To God that he saw stond in hevyn,
    And cronned was for hys prouesse.

The iij. day longeth to sent Johan,
That was Cristys dariyng, derer non,
Whom he betok, whan he shuld gon,
    Hys moder der for hyr clennesse.

The iiij. day of the chyldren ȝong,
The Herowd to deth had do with wrong,
And Crist thei coud non tell with tong,
    But with ther blod bar hym wytnesse.

The v. day longeth to sent Thomas,
That, as a strong pyller of bras,
Held up the chyrech, and sclayn he was,
    For he sted with ryȝtwesnesse.

The viij. day tok Jhesu hys name,
That saved mankynd fro syn and shame,
And circumsysed was for no blame,
    But for ensample of meknesse.

The xij. day offerd to hym kynges iij.
Gold, myr, and cense, thes gyftes free,
For God, and man, and kyng was he,
    Thus worschyppyd thei his worthynes.

On the xl. day cam Mary myld,
Unto the temple with hyr chyld,
To shew hyr clen that never was fylyd,
    And therwith endyth Crystmes.

Note from Wright:

"Another copy of this song or carol is in the Sloane MS., fol. 33. v0."

Concerning the verse which begins "The v. day longeth to sent Thomas..." Wright notes: "This stanza, relating to St. Thomas of Canterbury, has been blotted out in the MS. by a later hand."

There are four versions of this carol on this website, including this page:


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