The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Betheleem, That Noble Place

For Christmas Eve

Words: Attributed to James Ryman, 1492, in a manuscript now held at Cambridge.

This version retyped in Old Blackletter: In Betheleem that noble place

Source: Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)
Also found in William Sandys, Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music (London: John Russell Smith, 1852), pp. 232-3.

Versions on this web site:
In Betheleem, That Noble Place (Sandys, 1833) - This Page
In Betheleem, That Noble Place (Middle English)
In Bethlehem, That Noble Place (Wright, 1841)
In Bethlehem, That Noble Place (Bramley and Stainer, 1871)
In Betheleem that noble place (retyped in Old Blackletter font)

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
See notes in F A Q

Chorus:
Be we mery in this feste,
In quo saluator natus est.

1. In Betheleem, that noble place,
As by prophesy sayd it ws,
Of the byrgyn Mary, full of grace,
    Saluator mundi natus est. Chorus

2. On chrystmas nyght an angel it tolde
To the Shephardes, kepyng theyr folde,
That into Betheleem with bestes wolde,
    Saluator mundi natus est. Chorus

3. The shephardes were cŲpassed ryght,
About them was a great lyght,
Drede ye nought, sayd the aŁgell bryght,
    Saluator mundi natus est. Chorus

4. Beholde to you we brynge great ioy
For why, Jesus is borne this day
(To vs) of Mary, that mylde may,
    Saluator mundi natus est. Chorus

5. And thus in fayth fynde it ye shall,
Lyenge porely in an oxe stall.
The shephardes than lauded god all,
    Quia Saluator mundi natus est. Chorus

Sandys' Note:

This [is] from Bibliographical Miscellanies, Oxford, 1813, 4to. being there taken from "Christmas Carolles," printed by Richard Kele, probably between 1546 and 1552.

Sandys' Christmas-tide updates the spelling of some words.

Editor's Note:

Kele's carols were reproduced in Edward Bliss Reed, Christmas Carols of the 16th Century, Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932). Because this work is still under copyright, none of the Kele carols are reproduced here.  At some future time, I will compare this text with that found in Kele (an challenging task, as Kele is printed in black letter), and update this note.

This is one of the carols that were first printed by Richard Kele, Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (circa 1550), and reprinted in Philip Bliss, Biographical Miscellanies (1813).

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