The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Nowel syng we bothe al and som

For Innocent's Day

Words and music from the Selden B. 26, folio 7r, 15th Century.

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.

Nowel syng we bothe al and som
Now Rex Pacificus ys y come.

1. Exorcum est in love and lysse
Now Cryst hys grace he gan us gysse
And with hys body us bought to blysse
        Bothe alle & sume.

2. De fructu ventris of Mary bryƺt
Bothe God and man in here a lyƺt
Owte of dysese he dyde us dyƺt
        Bothe alle & sume.

3. Puer natus to us was sent
To blysse us bouƺt, fro bale us blent
And ellys to wo we hadde y went
        Bothe alle & sume.

4. Lux fulgebit with love and lyƺt
In Mary mylde hys pynon pyƺt
In here toke kynde with manly myƺt
        Bothe alle & sume.

5. Gloria tibi ay and blysse
God unto hys grace he us wysse
The rent of heven that we not mysse
        Bothe alle & sume.


Text from Selden B. 26, folio 7r, compared to and corrected from The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford University press, 1992), #34, pp. 98-99. The editors noted that the Latin tags are from liturgies on Christmas Day. The thumbnail below is a link to the full-sized image of folio 7r, Selden B 26, at the Bodleian Library. The Bodleian prohibits reproduction of folio images on web pages such as these. Both links open in a new window at an external site.

This carol is said to be reproduced in Sir John Stainer, ed., Early Bodleian Music. Sacred and Secular Songs together with other MS. Compositions in the Bodleian Library, Oxford : ranging from about a.d. 1185 to about a.d. 1505. With an Introduction by E. W. B. Nicholson, and Transcriptions into Modern Musical Notation by J. F. R. Stainer and C. Stainer. Volume Two of Two volumes (vol. 1, facsimiles, vol. 2, transcriptions), 1901, p. 104 (facsimile, i. plate XLV).

Editor's Note:

The popularity of this carol can be seen by its appearance in an unusually large number of 15th century manuscripts including

Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58. (James, No. 1230)

Balliol 354, Richard Hill's Common-place Book, Balliol College, Oxford

Eng. Poet. e. 1., Bodleian Library, Oxford

MS. Ee. 1. 12., f. 1.r., Cambridge University Library

Selden B. 26, Bodleian Library, Oxford

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