The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Golden Time Is Now At Hand

A Carol of the Birth of Christ

Words and Music: Unknown

Source: William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868)

Compare: The golden tyme ys nowe at hande - Thomas Wright

1. The golden time is now at hand,
     The day of joy from heaven doth spring,
Salvation overflows the land,
     Wherefore all faithful thus may sing,
         Glory to God most high,
         And peace on the earth continually,
     And unto men rejoicing!

2. The birth of Christ who list tohear,
To this our song let them give ear,
    Which shews the same most plainly:
The Angel Gabriel from above
Was sent by God to break His love
    Unto the Virgin Mary;
Who said, "Hail, Mary, full of grace,
Blessed art thou of woman's race,
The Lord is with thee certainly,
As he hath sent thee word by me."
When she heard this she was afraid,
And cast in her mind what he had said;
The Angel said, "Fear not, May,
The Son of God doth dwell with thee.

3. "Lo, in thy womb thou shall conceive,
And bear a Son whose name shall have
    The glorious name of Jesus;
He shall be great in majesty,
And called the Son of God Most High,
    Who still shall dwell amongst us.
The Lord for Him shall well provide
The seat of His father, David;
And he shall reign for evermore,
A safeguard still unto the poor,
Whose kingdom sure shall have no end,
But still in joys the time to spend."
The Virgin said to th' Angels then,
"How shall this be? I know no man."

4. The Angel answered and said,
"The Holy Ghost, be not afraid,
    From heaven shall come upon thee;
And by the grace of God Most High,
Power shall overshadow thee,
    I tell the truth, believe me.
And also thy cousin, Elizabeth,
So in like wise conceived hath;
Thus God can make the barren tree
To bud with fruit most pleasantly."
Then Mary said, with one accord,
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord!
The will of God be done in me
As it shall please His majesty!"

5. When forty weeks were come and gone,
In Bethlehem this our Lord was born,
    As Esay [1] he did prophecy;
The shepherds keeping sheep by night,
The Lord did compass them with light,
    His Angel walking hard by.
The shepherds then were sore dismay'd,
The Angel said, "Be not afraid,
I bring you tidings of such joy
As Satan's force cannot destroy.
For why? to you is born this day
The Saviour of the world, I say:
This is the sign, where you shall see
A swaddling child in manger lie."

6. The shepherds straight to Bethlehem went,
as they by the Angel then were sent,
    Where Joseph was with Mary;
And as the Angel to them said,
They found the child in manger laid,
    Whom they did worship truly.
And spread abroad what they did see,
As the Angel told them certainly,
Rejoicing greatly at the same,
And praising God's Most Holy Name,
For sending down His only Son
For our salvation to be born;
Which was as now this Christenmas,
Rejoice, therefore, both more or less. [2]


1. Isaiah. Return

2. Great and small. Return

Husk's Note:

This is an ancient carol of rather peculiar construction. It is contained in a manuscript written early in the sixteenth century, which is preserved in the British Museum, and in which it bears the above title. Except in a collection of Specimens of Old Christmas Carols, edited by Mr. Thomas Wright for the Percy Society, this carol has never before been printed.

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