The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Excelsis Gloria

When Christ Was Born of Mary Free

For Christmas Eve, For Christmas

Words: English Traditional, 15th Century

Version 2
There are numerous variations of this carol.
See Notes under When Christ Was Born of Mary Free (Bramley and Stainer, with sheet music)

Source: A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 6.

1. When Christ was born of Mary free,
In Bethlehem in that fair citie,
Angels sungen with mirth and glee,
    In excelsis gloria!

2. Herdsmen beheld these angels bright,
To them appeared with great light,
Who said, God's Son is born this night,
    In excelsis gloria!

3. This King is comen to save mankind,
[Even] in Scripture as we find,
[There]fore this song have we in mind,
    In excelsis gloria!

4. [Then, dear] Lord, for thy great grace,
[Grant us] in bliss to see thy face,
Where we may sing to thee solace,
    In excelsis gloria!

Bullen notes that this carol is from the Harleian MS. 5396 (date circ. 1500). Printed in Sandys' Christmas Carols, and other collections.

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