The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Joyne all now in thys feste

For Christmas & Epiphany

Words: Harley Ms. 275, f. 146b, ca. 15th Century
The title of this page is from the Burden to the carol as opposed to the first line of the text.

Music: Not Stated

Source: John Williams, "Medieval Rhymes," in Notes and Queries, Second Series, Vol. 9, Number 232, January-June, 1860. (London: Bell & Daldy, 1860), pp. 439-440 (June 9, 1860).

Joyne all now in thys feste
ffor Verbum caro factum est.

Jhesus almyghty king of blys
    Assumpsit carnem Virginis ;
He was ev' and ev'more ys
    Consors p'rni lumīs.

All holy churche of hym mak mynd
    Intravit ventris thalamum ;
ffrom heven to erthe to save mankynd
    Pater misit filium.

To Mary came a messanger,
    fferens salin1 homini ;
And she answered wt myld chere,
    Ecce ancilla Domini.

The myght of the holy goste
    Palacium intrans uteri ;
Of all thyng mekenesse is moste
    In conspectu Altissimi.

When He was borne that made all thyng
    Pastor creator oīum ;
Angellis then began to syng
    Veni redemptor gentium.

Thre kynges come the xii day
    Stellā nitente previā ;
To seke the kyng they toke the way
    Bajulantes munera.

A sterre furth ledde the kynges all
    Inquirentes Dominum ;
Lygging in an ox stall
    Invenerunt puerum.

For He was kyng of kyngis ay
    Primus rex aurū optulit ;
ffor He was God and Lord verray
    Secundus rex thus protulit,

ffor He was man : the thyrd kyng
    Incensum pulcrum tradidit :
He us all to his blys brynge
    Qui mori cruce voluit.


1. Roemer gives "sal'm." Return.

Editor's Note:

Reproduced in Notes and Queries in a message from John Williams who prefaced the text of the carol with this note:

In a MS. in the British Museum (Harleian, No. 275. [f. 146b, 15th Century]) occurs the following curious mixture of English and Latin rhymes. One would almost suppose that the lines of the canticle were in tended to be sung alternately by the laity and clergy...

Reproduced in full in E. Littell, ed., Littell's Living Age, Volume 66 (Boston: Littell, Son, and Company, July-September, 1860), p. 567, and in Jean Roemer, Origins of the English People and the English Language (London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1888), pp. 427-428, citing MS. Harleian, No. 275. Also printed in Richard Leighton Greene, ed., The Early English Carols (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1935), #23b, "Joy we all now yn this feste," pp. 17-18, citing Ms. Harley 275, f. 146 v.

Seen also as "Joyne we now in thys feste" and "Joy we all now yn this feste." Other versions exist without this Burden. Other examples on this site include:

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