The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Be merry all that be present,
Omnes de Saba venient

Words: English Traditional, Before 1536

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 116-7.

1. Out of the East a star shone bright,
For to show three kingės light,
Which had far travelled day and night
To seek that Lord that all hath sent.

2. Thereof heard King Herod anon,
That three kings should come through his region,
To seek a child that peer had none,
And after them soon he sent.

3. King Herod cried to them quickly:
"Ye go to seek a child truly;
Go forth and come again me by,
And tell me where that he is lent."1

4. Forth they went by the starry gleam,
Till they came to merry Bethlehem;
There they found that sweet Bairn-Him,2
That sithe for us His blood hath spend.

5. Balthasar kneelėd first adown
And said: "Hail, King, most of renown,
And of all kings thou bearest the crown;
Therefore with gold I thee present."

6. Melchoir kneeled down where he stood3
And said: "Hail, Lord, in Thy priesthood,
Receive incense to Thy manhood,
I bringė it with good intent."

7. Jasper kneeled down where he stood
And said: "Hail, Lord, in Thy knighthood,
I offer thee myrrh to Thy godhead,
For thou art He that all hath sent."

8. Now lords and ladies in rich array,
Lift up your hearts upon this day,
And ever to God let us pray,
That on the Rood was rent.

Notes from Rickert:

1. Arrived, lit., landed Return

2. Text: barn-teme=child. Return

3. Text: in that stede=place. Return

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