The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now Have Good Day, Now Have Good Day!

For Christmas, Epiphany

Words: Attributed to James Ryman, 15th Century from, Balliol College MS. 354. f. 244 v.
Compare: Here Have I Dwelt In Joyfulness (Weston)
Here Haue I Dwellyd With More & Lasse (Flügel)
I Am Christmas, with Notes

Music: Not Stated

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 225-6.

Now Have Good Day, Now Have Good Day!
I Am Christmas, And Now I Go My Way

1. Here have I dwelled with more and less
From Hallowtide1 till Candlemas,2
And now must I from you hence pass:
    Now have good day!

2. I take my leave of king and knight,
And earl, baron and lady bright,
To wilderness I must be dight;
    Now have good day!

3. And at the good lord of this hall
I take my leave, and of guests all.
Methinks I hear, Lent doth call;
    Now have good day!

4. And at every worthy officer,
Marshall, panter and butler,
I take my leave as for this year;
    Now have good day!

5. Another year I trust I shall
Make merry in this hall,
If rest and peace in England may fall;
    Now have good day!

6. But oftentimes I have heard say
That he is loth to part away,
That often biddeth "have good day";
    Now have good day!

7. Now fare ye well, all in fere!
Now fare ye well for all this year!
Yet for my sake, have good cheer;
    Now have good day! 


1. All Hallow's Eve (e.g., Halloween, October 31). Return

2. Candlemas is celebrated on February 2. See: Candlemas. Return

Editor's Note:

I don't recall seeing any other carol that marked the length of the Christmas celebration longer than this carol: From October 31 through February 2. I do recall a passing mention that the nobles made their holiday plans at this time because it was the traditional date that the King and Queen announced their Christmas plans. This date was also when the annual rents were due on lands; it was also the beginning of the financial new year, the school new year, the court's new year, etc., – and as to the last two, it still is.

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