The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Marke this ~onge for it is trewe

A caroll of the Innocentes.

For The Innocents

Source: Edward Bliss Reed, ed., Christmas Carols Printed in the 16th Century Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

This carol requires the installation of the "Old Blacketter" font for best display.

Available in a Middle English font: Marke this songe for it is trewe
Also See: Marke This Songe For It Is Trewe (Sandys)


Marke this ~onge for it is trewe

For it is trewe as clerkes tell.

In olde tyme ~traung thyngs cam to pas

Grete wonder & grete meruayll was

In Israell.

There was one Octauyan

Octauyan of Rome Emperour.

As bokes olde doth ~pecyfye

Of all the wyde worlde trulye.

He was lorde and gouernour.

The Jewes that tyme lackyd a kyng

They lackyd a kyng to gyde them well

The Emperour of power and myght

Cho~e one Herode agayn~t all ryght

In Israell.

This Herode than was kyng of Jewys

Was kynge of Jewys & he no Jewe

For ~o the he was a panym borne

Wherfore on fayth it may be ~worne

He reygned kynge vntrewe.

By prophe~ye one I~ay

One I~ay, at le~t dyd tell

A chylde ~holde come wonderous newys

[^ ~hold be borne trewe kyng of Jewys

In Israell.

This Herode knew one borne ~hold be

One borne ~holde be of trewe lenage

That ~holde be ryght herytour

For he but by the Emperour

Was made by v~urpage

Wherfore of throught this kynge Herode

This kynge Herode in grete fere fell

For all the days mo~t in his myrth

Euer he fered Chry~tes byrth

In Israell.

The tyme came it plea~ed god

It plea~ed god ~o come to pas

For mannes ~oule in dede

His bly~~ed ~one was borne wyth ~pede

As his wyll was

Tydynges came to kynke Herode

To kynge Herode, and dyd hym tell

That one borne for~oth is he

Which lorde and kynge of all ~hall be

In Israell.

Herode than raged as he were woode

As he were wode of this tydynge

And ~ent for all his ~crybes ~ure

Yet wolde he not tru~t the ~crypture

Nor of theyr councellynge.

Than this was the conclu~yon

The conclu~yon of his councell

To ~ende vnto his knyghtes anone

To ~le the chylderne euerychone

In Israell.

This cruell kynge this tyranny

This tyranny dyd put in vre

Bytwene a day and yeres too

All men chylderne he dyd ~loo

Of Cry~t for to be ~ure.

Yet Herode my~~ed his cruell pray

His cruell pray as was goddes wyll

Jo~eph with Mary than dyd fle

With Chry~t to Egypt gone was ~he

In Israell.

All this whyle this tyrantes

This tyrantes wolde not conuert

But innocentes yonge

That lay ~okynge

They thry~t to the herte.

This Herode ~ought the chyldren

This chyldren yonge, with corage fell

But in doynge thys vengeaunce

His owne ~one was ~layne by chaunce

In Israell.

Alas I thynke the moders were wo

The moders were wo it was grete ~kyl

What motherly payne

To ~e them ~layne

In cradels lyeng ~tyll:

But god hymn ~elfe hath theym electe

Hath theym electe, in heuyn to dwell.

For they were bathed in theyr blode

For theyr baptym for~oth it ~tode

In Israell.

Alas agayne what hartes had they

What hart~ had they tho~e babes kyll

With ~werdes whan they hym caught

In cradels they lay and laught

And neuer thought yll.


Editor's Note:

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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