Pray For Us The Prince of Peace
Words and melody
from a parchment roll in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.
(Date, Fifteenth Century.)
Compare: To the now, Crystys der derlyng - Thomas Wright
To Thee Now, Christ's Dear Darling – Edith Rickert, with sheet music from J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century.
Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #194, p. 44.
Pray for us the Prince of Peace,
Amice Christi Johannes.
thee now Christès
That wert a mayden both eld and young,
Mine heart is set to thee to sing,
Amice Christi Johannes.
2. For thou went
(aye) so clean a may,2
The secrets of heaven forsooth thou saw,
When (up)on Christès breast thou lay.
3. When Christ
before Pilate was brought,
Thou, clean maiden, forsook Him not;
To die with Him was all thy thought.
4. Christ's mother
was to thee be-take,
A maiden to be maiden's make;
Thou be our help, we be not forsake.
Footnotes from Rev. Terry
2. May = maid. Medieval poets were fond of likening S. John to a maid, (just as we speak of 'The Loving disciple') to emphasise the fact that his love was higher than that of man, and only to be equalled by that of women.
Be-take = entrusted.
Make = mate, companion.
Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #194, p. 44.
Sheet Music from Sir Richard Runciman Terry, A Medieval Carol Book: The Melodies Chiefly from MMS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1932), Carol #30, p. 55.
The Harley manuscript inserts this fourth verse:
Mary and Johan, by Chryst they stode;
Mary wept bothe water and blode
Whan she sawe her Sonne done on the roode.
Amice [Christi Johannes.]
See Richard Leighton Greene, ed., The Early English Carol (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1935), #103b, p. 67.
“Christ's Dear Darling” is St. John, Apostle, Evangelist and author of a Gospel, a couple of Letters, and, according to some, the Book of Revelation. His feast day is December 27, within the traditional 12 days of Christmas. For more information, see Hymns To St. John The Evangelist.
Another collection containing carols from a roll in the Library of Trinity College is J. A. Fuller Maitland, ed., English Carols of the Fifteenth Century From A MS Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. (London: The Leadenhall Press, et al., 1891), with added vocal parts by W. S. Rockstro.
Versions of this carol occur in the following manuscripts according to the excellent Digital Index of Middle English Verse (DIMEV):
2. Oxford, Balliol College 354, f. 222
3. Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.3.58 (1230), Art. 12
4. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 37v-38
5. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 48v-49
6. London, British Library Harley 4294, f. 81v1
If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.