The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Puer Nobis Natus Est

For Christmas

Words: From the Harley Ms. 5396, ca. King Henry VI, British Library, London

Compare: Be Glad, Lordings (Rickert)
Lystenyt, lordyngs, more and lees - Thomas Wright
 Be glad, lordynges, be ye more and lesse - Thomas Wright

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LXII, p. 118.

Puer nobis natus est
De virgine Maria.

Be glad, lordinges, bethe more and lesse,
I bring you tidinges of gladnesse,
As Gabriel me bereth wetnesse. 5
    Dicam vobis quia.

I bring you tidinges that ben gode.
Mary hath borne a blissful fode
That boght us all upon the rode
    Sua morte pia. 10

For the trespas of Adam,
Fro the fader of heven he cam.
Hereto mirthe us bigan
    Teste prophecia.

Mary, modur and leve virgin, 15
That bare a child withouten sin,
Kepe us all fro helle pin !
    De virgine Maria.


8. fode, child.

15. leve, dear.

17. pin, torment.

Notes to #LXII, p. 351.

Harl. 5396. Printed Wright, S. C. C., 33.

Another version, one verse longer, from Camb. Ii. iv. 11, is printed Rel. Ant., i. 203.

12. Fro ; MS. ‘For'.

Extended Citations:

Harleian 5396.
Harleian 5396. First part non-lyrical, ff. 1-270, parchment; second part. ff. 271-311, paper, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2, with MS. note ‘A Collection of Ancient Poems with some other Memorandums dated ye 34 year of K. Hen. VI. 1456.’ Extracts in Wright, S.C.C. [Nos. LXII, LXVIL]

Editor's Note:
The source almost certainly did not print "ye 34 year." Rather the letter 'y' was used instead of the Middle English character Thorne (þ), which is commonly transliterated "th". This would give us "the 34 year" in the above text. 

Wright, S. C. C., 33.
Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols, Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841), Be glad, lordynges, be ye more and lesse, p. 33.

Rel. Ant., i. 203.
Thomas Wright and
James Orchard Halliwell, eds., Reliquiæ Antiquæ. Scraps from Ancient Manuscripts, illustrating chiefly Early English Literature and the English Laguage. Vol. 1 of 2 vols. (1841, 1843), A Christmas Carrol (Lystenyt, lordyngs, more and lees), p. 203.

Editor's Note:

Other versions of this carol on this website:

"Listen, Lordings, Both More and Less" (Burden: Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria)

There are other carols on this web site with similar first lines or burdens, although they have very separate themes and lyrics, including:

"Listen, Lordings, Both Old and Young"

This Rose is Railed on a Ryse (Of a rose singè we), Text Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 11, from Ms. Selden B 26, folio 9v.

"Listen, Lordings, Both Great and Small" (Burden: A, a, a, a, Nunc gaudet ecclesia):

"Listen, Lordings, both leve and dear" (Nowell, -ell, both Old and Young):

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