The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The First Nowel

Words and Music: English Traditional

See notes under The First Nowell

Source: Davies Gilbert, Some Ancient Christmas Carols. London: John Nichols And Son, Second Edition, 1823, Carol #9, pp. 28-9.

1. The first Nowel that the Angel did say
Was to certain poor Shepherds in fields where they lay;
In fields where they lay, keeping their sheep,
In a cold Winter's night that was so deep.

Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel,
Born is the King of Israel.

2. They looked up and saw a Star
Shining in the East beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night. Chorus.

3. And by the lightning of that Star
There came three Wise Men from countries far,
To seek a King was their intent,
And to follow the Star wheresoever it went. Chorus.

4. This Star drew nigh to the North West,
And at Bethlehem Jury she took up her rest,
And there she did both stop and stay,
Right over the house where the King did lay. Chorus.

5. Then did they know assuredly
Within that house the King did lie;
Then entered in one for to see,
And found the Babe in poverty. Chorus.

6. Then entered in these Wise Men three,
Most reverently upon their knee,
And offered there in his presence
Both gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. Chorus.

7. Between an ox-stall and an ass
This Child truly there born was;
For want of clothing there did him lay
All in an ox-manger amongst the hay. Chorus.

8. Now let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our Heavenly Lord,
The which hath made Heaven and Earth of nought,
And by his blood Mankind hath bought. Chorus.

9. If we in our life-time doth do well,
We shall be free from the pains of Hell,
For God hath prepared and for us all
A resting place in generall. Chorus.

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