The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

God against nature thre wonders haith wrought

Words and Music: Traditional English
(From MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. xxv. fol. 140, v0)

Source: Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841)

By reason of two, and no poore of one,
This tyme God and man was set at one.

God against nature thre wonders haith wrought
    First of the vile earthe mad man without man;
Then woman without woman of man maid of nought;
    And so man without man in woman than:
    Thus, lo! God and man together begane,
    As two for to joine together in one,
    As at this good tyme to be sett at one;
        Thus God begane
This world for to forme an to encreasse man.

Angell in heaven for offence was damned,
    And man also for beinge variable;
Whether shuld be saved was examyned,
    Man or yet angell; then God was greable
    To answer for man, for man was not able,
    And said man had mocyon and angell had none,
    Wherefore God and man shuld be seit at one.
        Thanke we him than,
That thus did leave angell and saved man.

The Devill clamed man by bargan as this,
    For an thappell, he said, man was bought and solde;
God aunswered and said, the bargan was his,
    With myne to be myne, how durst thoue be so bolde?
    Man myne, syne thyne, wherfore thoue art now told,
    Thoue bought nought, then taike nought, the bargan is don;
    Wherfore God and man shalbe set att one.
        Nowe blessed be he,
For we that are bownde, loe! nowe are maid free.

Betwene God and man it was great distaunce,
    For man said that God shld have kept him upryght,
And God said man maid all the variaunce,
    For thapple to sett his commaundement so light;
    Wherfore of his mercye sparinge the ryght,
    He thought God and man shuld be set at one;
    Seinge that God and man was set at one,
        What kindnes was this,
To agree with man and the fault not his?

Withe man and woman it was great traverse,
    Man said to the woman, "woe myght thou be!"
"Nay," quod the woman, 'why dost thoue reverse?
    For womans entisinge woe be to the!
    For God [made] man the heade and ruler of me;
    Thus God sawe man and woman were not at one,
    He thought in a woman to sett theime at one;
        To our solace,
His mercye be graunted for our trespace.

Of womanhede lo! thre degres there be,
    Widowehede, wedlocke, and verginnitie;
Widowehede clamed heaven, her title is this,
    By oppressions that mekelie suffrethe she;
And vergins clame by chastité alone;
Then God thought a woman shoulde set them at one;
    A wedlocke by generacion, heaven hires shuld be,
        And cease the strife;
For Marie was maden, widowe, and wife.

The ritche and the pore the title did reherse;
    The pore clamed heaven throughe his pacient havour,
He said beati pauperes, and further the verse,
    The riche man by ritches thought hym in favour,
    For who was so ritche as was our saviour?
    And againe who so pure as he was one,
    In hey when he ley to set us at one?
        Who grant us peace,
And at the last ende the great joyes endles!


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