The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Lay Up On A Night

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Trinity College Library (T.C.C.) Ms. O. 3, 58

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LIII, p. 106.

Alma redemptoris mater.

As I lay up on a night
My thought was on a herd so bright
That men clepen Marye full of might,
    Redemptoris mater.

To here cam Gabriel with light,
And seid ' Heil be thou, blissful wight,
To ben cleped now art thou dight
    Redemptoris mater '

At that wurd that lady bright
Anon conseived God full of might.
Than men wist weel that sche hight
    Redemptoris mater.

Whan Jhesu on the rode was pight,
Mary was doolful of that sight,
Til sche sey him rise up right,
    Redemptoris mater,

Jhesu, that sittest in hevene light,
Graunt us to comen beforn thy sight,
With that berd that is so bright,
    Redemptoris mater.

Notes

Line 3, berd, maiden.

Line 14, pight, fastened.

Editor's Note:

This remarkable song occurs in at least five manuscripts, including

The Middle-English texts from four sources (excluding Advocates' Library) are found in Frederick Morgan Padelford, "English Songs in Manuscript Seiden B. 26" (Üniversity of Washington, Dec. 3, 1910) in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia ; Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Vol. XXXVI. (Halle a.S.: Max Niemeyer, 1912, pp. 93-95.

Alma Redemptoris Mater means “Loving Mother of our Saviour.” It is one of four Latin Marian antiphons sung during the Daily Office; the other three are Ave Regina cælorum, the Regina cœli and the Salve Regina. None of these carols are translations of this antiphon, but only include the phrase, usually as a burden or chorus.

Here is one translation of the antiphon from Rev. Edward Caswall of the Oratory, Hymns & Poems, Original & Translated (London: Burns and Oates, 1908), p. 22.

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Mother of Christ ! hear thou thy people's cry,
Star of the deep, and Portal of the sky !
Mother of Him who thee from nothing made,
Sinking we strive, and call to thee for aid :
Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Pure Virgin, first and last, look on our misery.

For other Latin and English texts of the Antiphon, see Alma Redemptoris Mater (copyright at EWTN) and Alma Redemptoris Mater (copyright at the Marion Library). For general information, including texts, see Alma Redemptoris Mater at Wikipedia (which quotes translations that are under copyright or at least published since 1923).

Versions of this carol on this web site:

Notes by Chambers & Sidgwick to #LIII, p. 349.

T.C.C., O. 3, 58. Printed Fuller Maitland, 6-7 and 34-5. Other versions in Sloane 2593, printed Wright, W.C., 88; Balliol 354, printed in Anglia, xxvi. 238; Seld. B. 26, printed E.B.M., ii. 119 (facsimile, i. plate LVIII).

The Alma redemptoris mater is a well-known Advent antiphon (Daniel, ii, 318), but the poem is not a translation of it.

The expanded citation is:

Trinity College Library (T.C.C.), O. 3, 58, Printed J. A. Fuller Maitland, ed., English Carols of the Fifteenth Century, from a MS. Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. With added vocal parts by W. S. Rockstro. (London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891), pp. 6-7 and 34-5.

Other versions in

Sloane 2593, printed Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (Warton Club, 1842), p. 88;

Balliol 354, printed in Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift Für Englische Philologie. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), p. 238, The full article is found on pp. 94-285. Editor's Note. Balliol Ms. 354 is available on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University, Balliol Ms. 354. See also Ewald Flügel, "Englische Weihnachtslieder aus einer Handschrift des Balliol College zu Oxford," in Forschungen zur deutschen Philologie: Festgabe fur Rudolf Hildebrand, (Leipzig, 1894), pp. 52-84. Some carols from Balliol Ms. 354 are also found in Ewald Flügel, Neuenglisches Lesebuch (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1895) , pp. 111 ff.

Selden B. 26, printed Sir John Stainer, ed., Early Bodleian Music. Sacred and Secular Songs together with other MS. Compositions in the Bodleian Library, Oxford : ranging from about a.d. 1185 to about a.d. 1505. With an Introduction by E. W. B. Nicholson, and Transcriptions into Modern Musical Notation by J. F. R. Stainer and C. Stainer. Volume 2 of 2 volumes (1901), p. 119. Facsimile in Vol. 1, plate LVIII.

Note regarding T.C.C., the Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58. (James, no. 1230). Parchment roll 7 inches wide, and 6 feet 7 inches long. One side bears a Latin ecclesiastical treatise; the other 13 carols and poems with music, perhaps by John Dunstable (see Bodl. Selden B. 26). Df the XV cent.; the forms of the words indicate northern origin. A variant of the Agincourt song is the only secular poem. The MS. was presented in 1838 to the College by H. O. Roe, Esq. Described in James, iii. 247. Edited with a facsimile and added vocal parts by J. A. Fuller Maitland and W. S. Rockstro in 1891, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century, from a MS. Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. [Nos. LII, LIII, LXXIV.]

Note regarding Selden B. 26: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Selden B. 26. 'Several MSS., apparently bound together after they came into the possession of the library' [in or about 1659] ; ff. 3-33, parchment, 10 1/4 x 7, contains 52 English and Latin carols and songs with music in 2, 3, and 4 parts. Nicholson traces eleven different hands in the music and nine in the words ; Southern English; about 1450. One tune by John Dunstable, who died 1453. Variants of four lyrics and tunes in Trinity College Library, 0. 3. 58 ; including the Song on Agincourt, transcribed hence by or for Samuel Pepys, now in his collection of Ballads, i. 3. Described in E.B.M., i. xx-xxiii, and O.M.M., ii. 133 (from musical point of view). [Nos. LIX, CVII, CXXV, CXXX, CXXXV, CXLI.]

Editor's Note: this manuscript is available on-line; see Selden MS B26 (opens in a new window at an exterior site).

Samuel Pepys, Ballads (1929), Volume 1, p. 3. Editor's Note: I believe that this reference is to the original five volumes created by Pepys, and not to any of the subsequent reprints of the ballads.

E.B.M., Volume 1, pp. xx-xxiii:
Sir John Stainer, ed., Early Bodleian Music. Sacred and Secular Songs together with other MS. Compositions in the Bodleian Library, Oxford : ranging from about a.d. 1185 to about a.d. 1505. With an Introduction by E. W. B. Nicholson, and Transcriptions into Modern Musical Notation by J. F. R. Stainer and C. Stainer. Two volumes (vol. 1, facsimiles, vol. 2, transcriptions), 1901.

O.H.M., Volume 2, p. 133.
W. H. Hadow, ed., The Oxford History of Music. 6 Volumes. First two vols. are Parts I (1901) and II (1905) of The Polyphonic Period by H. Ellis Wooldridge.

T.C.C. O. 3. 58.
T.C.C., the Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58. (James, no. 1230). Parchment roll 7 inches wide, and 6 feet 7 inches long. One side bears a Latin ecclesiastical treatise; the other 13 carols and poems with music, perhaps by John Dunstable (see Bodl. Selden B. 26). Df the XV cent.; the forms of the words indicate northern origin. A variant of the Agincourt song is the only secular poem. The MS. was presented in 1838 to the College by H. O. Roe, Esq. Described in James, iii. 247. Edited with a facsimile and added vocal parts by J. A. Fuller Maitland and W. S. Rockstro in 1891, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century, from a MS. Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. [Nos. LII, LIII, LXXIV.]

Balliol 354.
Balliol 354. Paper, 11 1/2 x 4. Commonplace book of Richard Hill, who describes himself as ‘seruant with Mr. Wyngar, alderman of London.' John Wyngar, grocer, was alderman in 1493, mayor 1504, and died 1505. Richard Hill married in 1518 Margaret, daughter of Harry Wyngar, haberdasher, 'dwellyng in bowe parishe in London,' and the births of his seven children are recorded in the MS. from 1518 to 1526. The MS. is a miscellany of the widest character, English, French, and Latin, poems, romances, fabliaux, extracts from Gower and Sir Thomas More, receipts, legal notes, London customs, etc. Some pieces, signed by Hill, must be in his own hand ; so probably is most of the MS. The latest date in it is 1535, but part must have been written before 1504. Rimbault, 120, refers apparently to the MS. in 1851, (see notes on CXXXI), and said he intended to print it entire. Chappell (1855-59), 50, notes that this MS. had been 'recently found in the library . . . , where it had been accidentally concealed, behind a bookcase, during a great number of years.' Extracts printed by Flugel, W.L., in 1894; and thence by Pollard, 1903 ; also in Flugel, N.L. Edited, almost complete, with full table of contents, by Flugel in Anglia, xxvi, 94, printing 126 items. Source: Notes, p. 307-308.

See:

Editor's Note:

See also

Balliol Ms. 354 is available on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; see Balliol Ms. 354.

= = =

Sloane 2593.
Sloane 2593. Paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2. Songs and carols, seventy-four in number, of which three are in Latin, and the rest in English. Mainly religious or moral, but some trivial and satirical. Wright considered it to be the song-book of a minstrel (cf. Eng. Poet. e. 1) ; the last folio bears the name ‘Johannes Bardel' or ‘Bradel,' written in the same hand as the rest of the MS. Wright traces one poem to 1362-9, but probably this and others were traditional when written down ; he dates the handwriting temp. Henry VI. According to Bradley-Stratmann, the MS. was written in Warwickshire at the beginning of the XV cent. Variants of some poems appear in Eng. Poet. e. i. Extracts in Ritson (1790), Wright, Carols (1836), and S.L.P., Rel. Ant., and Fehr in Archiv, cvii. 48; Edited complete by Wright for the Warton Club in 1856 ; and by B. Fehr in Archiv, cix. 33 ; who does not print poems extracted as above, but is ignorant of the Warton Club print. Source: Notes, pp. 303-304.

Extended Citations:

Extracts in:

Edited complete by:

- - - - -

Selden B. 26.
Selden B. 26: Oxford, Bodleian Library, 'Several MSS., apparently bound together after they came into the possession of the library' [in or about 1659] ; ff. 3-33, parchment, 10 1/4 x 7, contains 52 English and Latin carols and songs with music in 2, 3, and 4 parts. Nicholson traces eleven different hands in the music and nine in the words ; Southern English; about 1450. One tune by John Dunstable, who died 1453. Variants of four lyrics and tunes in Trinity College Library, 0. 3. 58 ; including the Song on Agincourt, transcribed hence by or for Samuel Pepys, now in his collection of Ballads, i. 3. Described in E.B.M., i. xx-xxiii, and O.H.M., ii. 133 (from musical point of view).

Editor's Note: Selden Ms. B 26 is available  on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; see Selden MS B26.

E.B.M.
Sir John Stainer, ed., Early Bodleian Music. Sacred and Secular Songs together with other MS. Compositions in the Bodleian Library, Oxford : ranging from about a.d. 1185 to about a.d. 1505. With an Introduction by E. W. B. Nicholson, and Transcriptions into Modern Musical Notation by J. F. R. Stainer and C. Stainer. Volume Two of Two volumes (vol. 1, facsimiles, vol. 2, transcriptions), 1901, p. 107 (facsimile, i. plate XLVII).

O.H.M.
The Oxford History of Music
. Edited by W. H. Hadow, 6 vols. First two vols. are Parts I (1901) and II (1905) of 'The Polyphonic Period' by H. Ellis Wooldridge.

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