For the Annunciation, Christmas Eve
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
This sayd the aungell Gabryell.
1. Lordes and ladyes all by dene,1
For your goodnes and honour
I wyll you synge all of a quene,
Of all women she is the floure. Chorus
2. Of Jesse there sprange a wyght,
Isay sayd by prophesy,
Of whome shall com a man of myght,
From dethe to lyfe he wyll vs bye. Chorus
3. There cam an aungell bryght of face,
Flyenge from heuen with full gret lyght,
And sayd, Hayle! Mary, full of grace,
For thou shalt bere a man of myght. Chorus
4. Astonyd was that lady free,
And had meruayle of that gretynge,
Aungell, she sayd, how may that be,
For neuer of man I had knowynge? Chorus
5. Drede the nothynge, Mary mylde,
Thou art fulfylled with great vertew,
Thou shall conceyue and bere a chylde,
That shall be named swete Jesu. Chorus
6. She knelyd downe vpon her knee,
As thou haste sayd, so may it be,
With hert, thought, and mylde chere,
Goddes handmayd I am here. Chorus
7. Than began her wombe to sprynge,
She went with chylde without man,
He that is lorde ouer all thynge,
His flesshe and blode of her had than.2 Chorus
8. Of her was bourne our heuen kynge,
And she a mayden neuer the lesse,
Therfore be mery, and let vs synge,
For this new lorde of Chrystmas. Chorus
1. By dene = Together (note from Rickert). Bullen gives "forthwith" as his translation. Return
2. Then. Return
This [is] from Bibliographical Miscellanies, Oxford, 1813, 4to. being there taken from "Christmas Carolles," printed by Richard Kele, probably between 1546 and 1552.
Also found in Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 36, who gives as her source Richard Kele's Christmas Carols, in Bliss's Biographical Miscellanies, 1813. This is her modernized version.
Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 12, who noted that this and the preceding carol [In Bethlehem, That Noble Place] are from Christmas Carolles newely imprinted (circ. 1550), of which only a fragment has come down. Our text is taken from Bibliographical Miscellanies (Oxford, 1813).
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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