The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Babe Is Born To Blys Vs Brynge

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms., Balliol 354

Music: Not Stated

Source: Roman Dyboski, ed., Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. EETS e.s. 101 (1908); repr. 1984: 21-23.
A variant of "A babe is born our bliss to bring"

The Virgin and her Son.

Now synge we with angelis :
Gloria in excelcis !

                    (1)
A babe is born, to blys vs brynge.
I hard a mayd lulley & synge ;
She said : " Dere son, leve thy wepyng,
    Thy fader is že kyng of blis."
        Now sy[n]g we [with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (2)
" Lulley," she said & songe also,
" Myn own dere son, whi art žou wo ?
Haue I not do as I shuld do ?
    Thy grevance, tell me what it is ! "
        Nowe syng [we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (3)
" Nay, dere moder, for že wepe I nowght,
But for že wo žat shall be wrowght
To me, or I mankynd haue bowght :
    Was neuer sorow lik it, ywis."
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !] 

                    (4)
" Pesse, dere son, tell me not soo,
žou art my child, I haue no moo ;
Shuld I se men myn own son sloo ?
    Alas, my dere son ! what menys žis ? "
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (5)
" My hondis, moder, žat ye may see,
Shall be nayled vnto a tree ;
My fete all so fast shall be ;
    Men shall wepe žat shall se this."
        Now syng [we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (6)
" A, dere son ! hard is my happe,
To see my child žat sokid my pappe,
His hondis, his fete, žat I dide wrappe,
    Be so naylid, žat neuer dide amysse."
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (7)
" A dere moder ! yet shall a spere
My hart in sonder all to-tere ;
No wondre, yf I carefull were,
    & wepe full sore to thynk on this."
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (8)
" A dere son ! shall I se this ?
žou art my child, & I thy moder ywis,
Whan Gabryell called me 'full of grace,'
    He told me no thyng of this."
        [Now synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (9)
" A, dere moder ! thorow myn here.
To thrust in thornes, they will not spare ;
Alas, moder ! I am full of care,
    That ye shall see this hevynes."
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (10)
" A dere son, leve thy wepyng !
žou bryngyst my hart in gret mornyng ;
A carefull songe now may I syng ;
    This tydyngis, hard to me it is."
        Now [synge we with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

                    (11)
" A ! pece, dere moder, I the pray,
comforte me all žat ye may.
& syng, ' by, by, lulley, lulley,'
    To put a-way all hevynes."
        Now syng we [with angelis :
        Gloria in excelcis !]

Editor's Note

This is one of several carols found in multiple manuscripts, with various versions, including:

1. Oxford, Balliol College Ms. 354. Versions include:

2. Bodleian Library, Oxford, Laud misc. 683 (SC 798), f. 105v, with a first Line of "A babe is born our blysse to brynge." A copy was posted by Henry Noble MacCracken in Modern Language Notes, Vol. XXIV, No. 7. (Baltimore: November, 1909), p. 225:

3. National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Porkington 10, ff. 201-202. According to Richard Greene (and also see DIMEV, http://www.dimev.net/record.php?recID=5), this version includes Stanzas 1, 3-8, and 11, alternating with stanzas of the Latin Hymn, "Christe qui lux es et dies," described as a hymn for Compline often sung during Lent 'A Clerk At Oxford' gives a background plus an English translation, http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2012/03/christe-qui-lux-es-et-dies.html. Greene gives a number of the differences from "A Babe is born to blis vs brynge." Richard Greene, The Early English Carols (Oxford, 1935), pp. 112-113.

4. Harvard University, Cambridge Mass., H.C.L. 25258.27.5, p. 8, with a first line: "There is a child born to our blessing shall bring." According to DIMEV (http://www.dimev.net/record.php?recID=5), it is the basis of the version found in William Sandys, ed. Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern. (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), pp. 122-3. The text differs in the first line, but other texts given at DIMEV are found in Sandys' text:

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