The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Out Of The East A Star Shone Bright

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms.

Music: Not Stated

Source: Jessie L. Weston, ed., Old English Carols from the Hill MS. [Balliol College MS. 354] Translated by Jessie L. Weston. (London: David Nutt, 1911), Carol #XI, pp. 19-20.

Rejoice all ye who be here present,
Omnes de Saba venient !

1. Out of the East a star shone bright,
To three kings hath it given light,
Who travelled far by day and night
To seek the Lord, Who all hath sent
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

2. Thereof king Herod needs must hear
How three kings drew his land anear,
Seeking a Child Who had no peer,
And after them he straightway sent
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

3. He spake, king Herod, to those kings three,
'If so be this Child ye are fain to see,
Pass on, yet come again to me,
And tell if your labour be well spent
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

4. Then forth they went by the starry gleam
Till they came to gladsome Bethlehem,
And a goodly Babe, forsooth, they deem
Him, who His Blood for us hath spent
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

5. Balthasar, he kneeled first adown,
And he cried : '
Hail, King of high renown,
I trow of all kings dost bear the crown,
Therefore take gold for Thy present !'
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

6. Melchior, he knelt, that king so good,
And quoth : ' All hail to Thy High Priesthood,
Take incense as gift to Thy true Manhood,
For here I brought it with good intent '
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

7. But Caspar, he kneeled in that stead,
And quoth : 'Hail, Lord, for Knighthood sped,
I offer myrrh to Thy true Godhead,
For Thou art He Who all hath sent'
    Rejoice all ye who be here present, etc.

8. Now lords and ladies in rich array,
Lift up your hearts on this Holy Day,
And to God the Son here let us pray,
Who once upon the rood was rent --

Rejoice all ye who be here present,
Omnes de Saba venient !

Editor's Note:

Weston's apparent source was Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), pp. 94-285. This work is available at both Internet Archive and Google Books.

See also Roman Dyboski, ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. Early English Text Society Extra Series No. CI (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1907, issued in 1908). Over 103 songs of great variety, including 62 "sacred songs and carols." Available at Internet Archive and Google Books.

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