The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Betheleem, that noble place

For Christmas Eve

Words: James Ryman, 1492

(From a small volume of Christmas Carols, printed by Richard Kele, probably between 1546 and 1552.)

Source: Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841)

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

Be we mery in this feste,
In quo salvator natus est.

1. In Betheleem, that noble place,
As by prophesy sayd it was,
Of the vyrgyn Mary, full of grace,
Salvator mundi natus est.
                    Be we mery, etc.

2. On Chrystmas nyght an angel it tolde,
To the shephardes, kepying theyr folde,
That into Betheleem with bestes wolde,
Salvator mundi natus est.
                    Be we mery, etc.

3. The shephardes were compassed ryght,
About them was a great lyght,
Drede ye nought, sayd the aungell bryght,
Salvator mundi natus est.
                    Be we mery, etc.

4. Beholde to you we brynge great joy,
For why? Jesus is borne this day
Of Mary, that mylde may,
Salvator mundi natus est.
                    Be we mery, etc.

5. And thus in fayth fynde it ye shall,
Lyenge porely in an oxe stall.
The shephards than lauded God all,
Quia Salvator mundi natus est.
                    Be we mery, etc.

Editor's Note:

This is one of the carols that were first printed by Richard Kele, Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (circa 1550), reprinted in Philip Bliss, Biographical Miscellanies (1813), and included in Edward Bliss Reed, Christmas Carols of the 16th Century, Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

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