The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Maiden Moder Milde

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Harleian Ms. 2253, f. 83, British Library, London

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #XLIX, pp. 100-101.

Maiden moder milde,
    Oiez eel oreysoun !
From shame thou me shilde,
    E de ly malfeloun !
For love of thine childe 5
    Me menez de tresoun !
Ich wes wod ant wilde,
    Ore su en prisoun.

Thou art feyr ant fre,
    E plein de doucour ; 10
Of thee sprong the ble,
    Ly soverein creatour.
Mayde, byseche I thee
    Vostre seint socour,
Meoke ant mylde, be with me 15
    Per la sue amour !

Tho Judas Jesum founde,
    Donque ly beysa.
He wes bete ant bounde,
    Que nus tous fourma. 20
Wyde were is wounde
    Que le Gyew ly dona;
He tholede harde stounde,
    Me poi le greva.

On ston ase thou stode, 25
    Pucele, tot pens aunty
Thou restest the under rode,
    Ton jitz veites pendant ;
Thou seye is sides of blode,
    Lalme de ly par taunt. 30
He ferede uch an fode
    En mound que fust vivaunt.

Ys siden were sore ;
    Le sang de ly cora.
That lond wes forlore, 35
    Mes il le rechata.
Uch bern that wes ybore
    En enfern descenda.
He tholede deth ther fore ;
    En ciel puis mounta. 40

Tho Pilat herde the tydynge,
    Molt fu joyous baroun;
He lette by fore him brynge
    Jesu Nazaroun.
He was ycrouned kynge 45
    Per nostre redempcioun.
Whose wol me synge,
    Auera grant pardoun.


7 wod, mad.

11 ble, appearance, form.

17 Tho, when.

23 tholede, endured,

31 fode, child.

47 Whose, whoso.

Notes for XLIX, p. 348.

Harl. 2253, Printed Böddeker, 220; Wright, S.L.P., 97 ; Wülcker, i, 49. The text is a Southern translation of a West Midland poem.

Extended Citations

Harl. 2253,
Harley 2253 in the British Museum. Parchment, 11 1/2 x 7 1/2. Miscellany of Latin, Anglo-French, and English verse and prose, in various hands. Wright conjectured it to be from Leominster Abbey, Herefordshire ; the collector a clerk ; Böddeker supposes him to have been a vagans. The poems are in Southern English, often translated from other dialects. An allusion to the death of Edward I shows that the MS. was not complete in 1307. Some of the English poems printed by Wright, ; all the English poems by Böddeker, who gives (ix) a complete list of contents. Ten Brink, vol. i, has good estimate of literary value of MS. Variants of some of the non-erotic lyrics appear in Egerton 613, Digby 86, and other MSS.

Böddeker, 220;
Karl Böddeker, Altenglische Dichtungen des MS. Harl. 2253. (Berlin: Weidmannsche buchhandlung, 1878), pp. 220-222.

Wright, S.L.P., 97 ;
Thomas Wright, ed., Specimens of Lyric Poetry, composed in England in the reign of Edward the First (London: Percy Society, 1842), #XXXV, pp. 97-98. [Texts from Harl. 2253.]; Editor's Note: Write cites Fol. 83, ro.

Wülcker, i, 49.
R. P. (Richard Paul) Wülcker, Altenglisches Lesebuch (Halle, a.S.: Lippert, 1874; Max Niemeyer, 1879), pp. 49-50.

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