The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Beth'lem In That Fair City

For Christmas, Innocents's Day

Source: J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century, from a MS. Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. (London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891), Carol #VI, pp. 12-13, 40-41. The text below is the modern version.

Nowel sing we now all and some,
For Rex pacificus1 is come.

1. In Bethl'em in that fair city,
A child was born of a maiden free,
That shall a Lord and Prince be,
    A solis ortus cardine.2

2. Children were slain full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of Thee,
Wherefore their soules saved be,
    Hostis Herodes impie.3

3. As the sun shineth through the glass.
So Jesu in His mother was,
Thee to serve now grant us grace,
    O lux beata Trinitas.4

4. Now God is come to honour us
Now of Mary is born Jesus,
Make we merry among us,
    Exultet coelum laudibus.5

Notes from Fuller Maitland, p. 41.

1. The King of Peace. Return

2. From the rising of the sun. Return

3. Herod thou wicked foe. Return

4. O Trinity most blessed light. Return

5. Let heaven rejoice with praises. Return

J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century. (London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891), VI.

Carol in Original Form From a 15th Century Manuscript, pp. 12-13.

Carol in Modern Form, pp. 40-41.

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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