The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Remember Man, Remember Man

For Christmas

Words and Music: Scottish Traditional

Source: John Wedderburn, A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs Commonly Known as 'The Gude and Godlie Ballatis.' Reprinted from the Edition of 1567, A. F. Mitchell, ed. (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1897), p. 200-204.

Remember man, remember man,
That I thy Saule fra Sathan wan,
And hes done for the that I can ;
Thow art full deir to me.
Is, was, nor salbe none.
That may the saif, bot I allone,
Onlie thairfoir beleue me on.
And thow sail neuer die.

Wolues, quhome of my Vangelistis wryte
And Paule and Peter did of dyte,
Allace! haif zow dissauit quyte,
With fals Hypocrisie.
My New Testament, plaine and gude.
For quhilk I sched my precious blude,
Zour onlie hope and Saulis fude,
Thay hald for Heresie.

And hes set vp thair fals doctrine
For couetice, in steid of myne,
With fyre and sword defendis it syne,
Contrair my word and me.
The Antichrist is cumit but dout,
And hes zow trappit round about,
Furth of his gyrne, thairfoir, cum out,
Gif ze wald sauit be.

His Pilgramage and Purgatorie,
His wirschipping of Imagerie,
His Pardonis and fraternitie,
With zeill and gude intent;
The quhisperit sinnis, callit eir Confessioun,
With his Preistis mumbillit absolutioun,
And mony vther fals abusioun,
The Paip hes done inuent.

With Messis sauld be Preist and Freir,
For land and money, wounder deir,
Quhilk is the ground staine of thair queir,
And rute of all thair pryde.
His Pater-nosters bocht and sauld.
His numerat Aueis, and Psalmes tauld,
Quhilk my New Testament, nor my auld,
On na wayis can abyde.

Thair half hag matines fast thay patter,
Thay gif zow breid, and sellis zow watter,
His cursingis on zow als thay clatter,
Thocht thay can hurt zow not,
Gif ze will geue thame Caip or Bell,
The clink thairof thay will zow sell.
Suppose the Saule suld ga to hell.
Ze get na thing vnbocht.

Thay sell zow als the Sacramentis seuin,
Thay mycht half maid as weill aleuin,
Few or mony, od or euin,
Zour pursis for to pyke.
Wald thay lat bot twa vsit be,
Of Baptisme, and of my bodie,
As thay war institute be me,
Men wald thame better lyke.

Mariage is ane blissit band,
Quhilk I gaif man in my command
To keip, bot thay my word withstand,
Ane sacrament it maid.
Unto thair vther Sacramentis fyue.
Our saluation thay ascryue,
Fra my trew Faith zow for to dryue,
In vaine to mak my deide.

Thair tryflis all ar maid be men,
Quhilk my Gospell did neuer ken,
My Law and my Commandementis ten,
Thay hid from mennis eine.
My New Testament thay wald keip downe,
Quhilk suld be preicheit fra towne to towne,
Cause it wald cut thair lang taillit gowne,
And schaw thair lyues vnclene.

And now thay ar with dolour pynde,
And lyke to raige out of thair mynde
Because fra thame ze ar declynde,
And will na lesingis heir.
Thairfoir thay mak sa greit vproir,
Contrair the flock of Christis stoir,
Determit, or thay will geue it ouer,
To fecht all in to feir.

Bot hald zow at my Testament fast,
And be na quhit of thame agast,
For I sail bring downe at the last,
Thair pryde and crueltie.
Than cleirly sail my word be schawin
And all thair falset salbe knawin
That thay into all landis haif sawin
Be thair Idolatrie.

And ze sail leue in rest and peace,
Instructit with my word of grace,
For I the Antichrist deface
Sail, and trew Preichouris send.
Repent zour sin with all zour hart.
And with trew Faith to me conuert,
And heuinlie gloir salbe zour part.
With me to bruke but end.

We pray the, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Conforme our lyues to thy word,
That we may leue with ane accord.
In perfite cheritie,
And forgeue vs our sinfulnes,
And cleith vs with thy rychteousnes,
Of thy fauour and gentilnes,
We pray the that So be.

F I N I S.


For a background concerning this carol, see Remember, O Thou Man.

The editor of this volume, A. F. Mitchell, had this note concerning this song at p. 292.

P. 200. Remember man, remember man.—Mr Laing in his note on this ballad says (p. 257) Dr Rimbault, in his 'Little Book of Songs and Ballads' (p. 79), gives this Christmas Carol from the collection entitled ' Melismata: Musical Phancies, fitting the Court Citie, and Country Humours,' London 1611, but says it is much earlier than the date of the book. It is also to be found in the Aberdeen Cantus, 1662, 1666, 1682, No. ix., as a religious song, in nine verses, of which the first and second run thus :—

"Remember, O thou man, O thou man, O thou man,
Remember, O thou man, thy time is spent;
Remember, O thou man, how thou was dead and gone,
And I did what I can; therefore repent.

Remember Adam's fall, O thou man, O thou man,
Remember Adam's fall, from heaven to hell;
Remember Adam's fall, how we were condemned all
In hell perpetual, therein to dwell."

It is quite possible that the author of our gude and godlie ballate may have adopted the first stanza of his piece from some earlier religious version of the secular song, but if so, it must have been from; some version at least a century older than the earliest Aberdeen Cantus mentioned above, and the working out of his constantly recurring theme—the sad departure of the old Church from the teaching of Christ and His apostles—must have been all his own.

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