The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Of These Four Letters Sing Will I

Words by G. R. W. Melody of Johnny Faa, or Gipsey Laddie, harmonized by C. W.

Notes and Source: George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, ca. 1919), Carol #74

Songs with a similar theme:
M and A and R and I (Rickert)
It Wern Fowre Letterys Of Purposy

1. Of these four letters sing will I
    In dulci melodia
Of M and A and R and Y,
    De Virgine Maria.
For Mother of th' Incarnate Word,
    Virginitatis via,
Of women none may be preferr'd
    Beata prae Maria.

2. Misdoubting not the Father's plan,
    Testante Hieremia,
'Tis she that compass'd hath a Man, [1]
    Conceptum ope dia;
And, as the Holy Spirit will'd,
    Locustus de Messia
In her is Esay's word fulfill'd, [2],
    Vetusque prophetia. [3]

3. An Angel, and of high degree
    Celesti in hierarchia,
Came down to greet this Maiden free,
    Dicens, 'Ave Maria!
Fear not; bedew'd with heav'nly shower
    O virga, virgo pia,
Thy bloom shall be th'immortal Flower:
    Ne timeas, Maria.'

4. Ride westward kings from Saba, three,
    Ferentes dona tria,
And 'fore the Babe of Mary's knee
    Genuflectuntur, quia
'Twas God, if of his glory shorn,
    Cum genitrice pia,
When God was born on Christmas-morn
    Ex Virgine Maria.

5. Yea therefore, Mary, pray thy Son,
    Qui Patris est Sophia,
To teach and lend us every one
    Ad coelica bravia;
Where Quire doth sing and belfry ring,
    Cum suavi symphonia,
To laud thy Child, O Maiden mild,
    Mater Dei, Maria.

Notes from G. R. W.:

1. Jer. xxxi. 22. Return

2. Isa. vii. 14. Return

3. Gen. iii. 15. Return

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Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, and Ascensiontide, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, ca. 1919), Carol #74
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

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