The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Kyrie, So Kyrie

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Sloane Ms. 2593, British Library, London

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #CXXVII, pp. 220-221.

Kyrie, so kyrie,
Jankin singeth merie,
With eleyson.

As I went on Yole day
    In oure prosession, 5
Knew I joly Jankin,
    Be his merie tone.
Jankin began the offis
    On the Yole day ;
And yit me thinketh it dos me good, 10
    So merie gan he say

Jankin red the pistil
    Full faire and full well,
And yit me thinketh it dos me good, 15
    As ever have I sel.
Jankin at the Sanctus
    Craketh a merie note,
And yit me thinketh it dos me good,
    I payed for his cote. 20
Jankin craketh notes
    An hunderid on a knot,
And yit he hakketh hem smallere
    Than wortes to the pot.
                    Kyrieleyson. 25

Jankin at the Agnus
    Bereth the Pax brede ;
He twinkeled, but said nought,
    And on mine fote he trede.
Benedicamus Domino, 30
    Crist from schame me schilde !
Deo gracias thereto.
    Alas, I go with childe.


13. pistil, epistle.

16. sel, happiness.

24. wortes, herbs.

Note to #CXXVII, p. 370.

Sloane 2593. Printed Wright, W.C., 100; and Carols (1836), no. XX.

6. Knew; Wright misprints ‘Know'.

16. sel; Wright misprints ‘sal'.

For the whole poem cf. a passage in A lutel Soth Sermon from MSS. Cott. Calig. A. ix and Jesus Coll. Oxford 29, printed Wright, Owl and Nightingale, 80, and Morris, O.E.M., 186-7, 11. 51-64:—

‘Thes persnnes ich wene
    ne boeth heo nouht for-bore.
Ne theos prude yungemen
    that luvieth Malekin
And theos prude maidenes
    that luvieth Ianekin
At chirche and at cheping
    hwanne heo togadere come
Heo runeth togaderes
    and speketh of derne luve
Hwenne heo to chirche cometh
    to the haliday
Everuch wile his leof iseon
    ther yef he may,' etc.

Jankin, the jolly clerk of Oxenford, was the first husband of the Wife of Bath ; cf. her Prologue, 525, sqq.

Extended Citations:

Wright, W.C. 100;
Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (Warton Club, 1842), "Kyrie, so kyrie, Jankyn syngyt merie, with aleyson," p. 100. (Texts from Sloane 2593);

Wright, Carols (1836).
Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols Printed From A Manuscript in the Sloane Collection in the British Museum Preface signed Thomas Wright. (London: William Pickering, 1836), No. XX, p. nnn. [Text, twenty pieces only, from Sloane 2593.]

Wright, Owl and Nightingale, 80,
Thomas Wright, ed., The Owl and the Nightingale : An early English Poem attributed to Nicholas de Guildford, with some shorter poems from the same manuscript. Edited by Thomas Wright. (Percy Society, 1843), p. 80. [Texts from Cott. Calig. A. ix.]

Morris, O.E.M., 186-7
Richard Morris, ed., An Old English Miscellany (E.E.T.S., 1872), pp. 186-7. [Texts From Jesus College, Oxford, 1. 29, Cotton Calig. A. ix, Egerton 613, etc.]

Sloane 2593.
Sloane 2593. Paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2. Songs and carols, seventy-four in number, of which three are in Latin, and the rest in English. Mainly religious or moral, but some trivial and satirical. Wright considered it to be the song-book of a minstrel (cf. Eng. Poet. e. 1) ; the last folio bears the name ‘Johannes Bardel' or ‘Bradel,' written in the same hand as the rest of the MS. Wright traces one poem to 1362-9, but probably this and others were traditional when written down ; he dates the handwriting temp. Henry VI. According to Bradley-Stratmann, the MS. was written in Warwickshire at the beginning of the XV cent. Variants of some poems appear in Eng. Poet. e. i. Extracts in Ritson (1790), Wright, Carols (1836), and S.L.P., Rel. Ant., and Fehr in Archiv, cvii. 48; Edited complete by Wright for the Warton Club in 1856 ; and by B. Fehr in Archiv, cix. 33 ; who does not print poems extracted as above, but is ignorant of the Warton Club print. Source: Notes, pp. 303-304.

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