I Am Here, Sir Christėmas
In Die Nativitatis
Words and Music: Rev. Richard Smart (or Smerte), Rector (1435-1477) of Plymtree, Devon, and vicar-choral at Exeter Cathedral (1428-ca. 1466). The carol was likely composed ca. 1461-1477. He was also the author of one of the Boar's Head carols (The borys hede that we bryng here), among several other carols in Ritson's Manuscript (British Library, MS. Addit. 5665, f.8.v. ff).
"Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell."
"Who is there that singeth so nowell, nowell, nowell?"
1. "I am here, Sir Christėmas."
"Welcome, my lord Sir Christėmas,
Welcome to us all, both more and less,
Come near, nowell."
2. "Dieus wous garde, bewe sieurs,1
tidings I you bring:
A maid hath borne a child full ying,
The which causeth (you) for to sing,
3. "Christ is now born of a pure maid,
In an ox-stall he is laid,
Whereof sing we alle at a brayde,2
4. "Bevvex bien par tutte la company,
Make good cheer and be right merry,
And sing with us now joyfully,
1. Elsewhere byewe syre. Return
2. In unison. Return
Sheet Music from Sir Richard Runciman Terry,
A Medieval Carol Book: The Melodies Chiefly from MMS. in the Bodleian Library,
Oxford, and in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge.
(London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1932), Carol #32, pp. 57-59
(British Library, Additional MSS. 5665.)
Sheet Music from John Stafford Smith, Musica Antiqua, Vol. I of II. (London: Preston, 97, Strand, 1812), p. 26. "Another In die Nativitatis."
Note from Rev. Richard R. Terry, A Medieval Carol Book, p. 59.
Dieu, etc.,: God keep you, fair gentlemen.
All at a Brayde: All together [to start, here 'all at once.']
Buvez, etc.: Drink well, throughout all the company.
This very old carol is one of a number of carols, mummers' plays, or texts featuring a personification of Christmas, and, in this one, we have a ceremony welcoming Sir Christmas into the season. For the notes on this carol, please see Sir Christmas.
Versions on this site include:
I Am Here, Syre Crystes Mass - Ritson, 1829
I Am Here, Syre Christmasse - Sandys, 1833
Sir Christmas - Vizetelly, 1851; Sylvester, 1861 [with notes]
I Am Here, Sir Christhismas - Husk, 1868
I Am Here, Sir Christemas - Rickert, 1910
Sir Christmas - Terry, 1933
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