The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Bedlem, That Fayer Cyte

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English from MS Eng. Poet. e. 1, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #49, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

    To blys God bryng us al and sum,
    Christe, redemptor omnium.

In Bedlem, that fayer cyte
Was born a chyld that was so fre,
Lord and prince of hey degre,
            Jam lucis orto sidere.

Jhesu, for the lowe of the,
Chylder were slayn grett plentee
In Bedlem that fayer cyte,
            A solis ortus cardine.

As the sune schynyth in the glas,
So Jhesu of hys moder borne was;
Hym to serve God gyffe us grace,
            O lux beata Trinitas.

Now is he oure Lord Jhesus:
Thus hath he veryly vysyt us;
Now to mak mery among us,
            Exultet celum laudibus.

Editor's Note:

Translations from Edith Rickert, In Bethlehem, That Fair City:

Editor's Note:

The popularity of this carol can be seen by its appearance in an unusually large number of 15th century manuscripts including

Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58. (James, No. 1230)

Balliol 354, Richard Hill's Common-place Book, Balliol College, Oxford

Eng. Poet. e. 1., Bodleian Library, Oxford

MS. Ee. 1. 12., f. 1.r., Cambridge University Library

Selden B. 26, Bodleian Library, Oxford

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