The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

My hert is set to syng

For Christmas

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

Middle English; retyped in Old Blackletter

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).

Psallemus cantantes
Domino noua cantica dantes
Cum canore iubilo
Et tibi discipulo
Oui ex priuilegio
Preceteris a domino

Dilectus es
Amice christi Johannes

My hert is set to syng
That all this worlde shall ryng
Reioyfull be and glad withall
Of the hygh memoryall
Whome it pleased Chryst to call
Of his grace especyall
    To his hyghnes
    Amice. etc.

Syttyng at his berde
He shewed the a preuy touche
A touche of famylyaryte
On his brest he suffred the
In thy slepe secretes to se
Of his gloryous deite
    For heuynes
    Amice. etc.

In his tender aege
He chose the to his pay
His paramour of loue entyer
Not for ye yu was of his blode so nere
But that next his moder dere
In chastyte thou had no pere
    And stedfastnes
    Amice christi Johannes.

Whan he sholde departe
He bade the kepe the care
The carefullest creature
His mother, ye she myght be sure
Whyle that her lyfe sholde endure
One mayde to haue another in cure
    For thy clennes
    Amice christi. etc.

So at his desyre
Thou kept her fro the myschefe
The myscheuous retenu
Of them that slewe thy lorde Jesu
That no fyers nor cruell iewe
In one wyse sholde her persewe
    Or her oppres
    Amice. etc.

But at his dyscesse
She fell into the gre
The greatest heuynes and we
That ony creature myght do
In ly we wyse thy self also
I knowe not the deadlyer of them two
    In that dystres
    Amice christi Johannes.

I meruayle not y wys
Though thou hast cause to cry
Pyteously to mourne and playne
To se thy naturall cosyn slayne
His mother hygh destraught for payn
That made thy hert to ryue in twayn
    For neuynes
    Amice christi Johannes.

Who could be so harde herted
To se how she fared.
How she sobbed whan she dyde wepe
With sorowfull lokes and syghes depe
Thou coude thy self no longer kepe
But sodeynly fell in a deadly slepe
    All confortles
    Amice christi Johannes.

Now Chrystes cosyn dere
Helpe that I be fre
Be fre and true inherytour
To his celesty all tour
Where thou beholdest in euery hour
The glory of thy fauyour
    That neuer shall ceas
    Amice. etc.

Fynally I the beseche
To teache me to make a brefe
A brefe and a redy way to amend
In that ye I dyde my lorde offend
That to his grace he wyll me lende
After this present lyfe he me send
    Euerlastyng peas
    Amice. etc.


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