The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Salutation Carol

For Advent, Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English
Bodleian Library. MS. Arch. Selden B. 26. XV Century.

Compare: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Nowell, Nowell
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell (Thomas Wright, 1847)
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell (Edith Rickert, 1914)

Tune: Old English
Setting by R. Vaughan Williams
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., 1913), Carol #25

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell
This is the salutation of the Angel Gabriel.

1. Tidings true there be come new,
Sent from the Trinity
By Gabriel to Nazareth,
City of Galilee.
A clean maiden, a pure virgin,
By her humility
Shall now conceive the Person
Second in Deity.

2. When that he presented was
Before her fair visage,
In most demure and goodly wise
He did to her homage;
And said, “Lady, from heaven so high.
That Lordes heritage,
For he of thee now born will be,
I'm sent on his message.

3. “Hail, Virgin celestial,
The meek'st that ever was!
Hail, temple of the Deity!
Hail, mirror of all grace!
Hail, Virgin pure! I thee ensure,
Within a little space
Thou shalt conceive, and him receive
That shall bring great solace.

4. Then bespake the Maid again
And answered womanly,
“Whate'er my Lord commandeth me
I will obey truly.”
With “Ecce sum humillima
Ancilla Domini;
Secundum verbum tuum,”

She said, “Fiat mihi.”

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #25

Sheet Music from William Chappell, The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time (London: Chappell & Co., 1859), pp. 41-43:

Editor's Note.

Versions of this carol on this site:

The Selden Manuscript was the source for A Medieval Carol Book by Rev. Terry. Scans of the manuscript pages are on-line at the Bodleian Library; see Selden MS B26 (opens in a new window at an exterior site).

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