The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

If thou be Johan, I tell it the

For the Feast of St. John the Apostle, Evangelist and Author of Letters
See: Hymns To St. John The Evangelist

Middle English; retyped in Old Blackletter

Source: Edward Bliss Reed, ed., Christmas Carols Printed in the 16th Century Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

If thou be Johan, I tell it the
Ryght with a good aduyce
Thou may be glad Johan to be
It is a name of pryce

To nawe of Io. Wel prays I may
Is is full good y wys
The grace of god, it is to say
It soundes nothyng amys
If thou be kyng in ryalte
And of wyt full wyse
Thou mayst be glad Johan to be
It is the name of pryce
    If thou be Johan, etc

He is not worthy to hyght Johan
The oxe that is not whyght
And thou art not worthy to hight iohan
But grace be in the pyght
If thou haue loue and charyte
And voydest away all vyce
Than art then worthy Johan to be
It is a name of pryce
    If thou be Johan, etc

Johan gaue baptyst vnto Chryst
Of grace was his prechyng
And saynt Johan euangelyst
Was Chrystes owne derlyng
In penaunce and vyrgynyte
He had full great delyce
God graunt vs grace this Johan to be
It a name of pryce
    If thou be Johan, etc

If thou be cleped Nycolas,
Bothe in dede and fame
Yet art thou Johan yf thou haue grace
It may well be thy name
I tell the true the veryte
And so I haue done it y wys
Thou mayst be glad Johan to be
It is a name of pryce.
    If thou be Johan, etc

Acomly yght is now present
His name y wys is Johan
Of his gret grace god hath sent
To make vs merye euery chone
Be glad and mery in charyte
I pray you all lyke wyse
He is well worthy Johan to be
It is a name of price
    If thou be Johan, etc

                                        Finis.

 

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