The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Seynt Stevene was a clerk

Carol For St. Stephen's Day
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words and Music: English Traditional
From the Sloane MS. 2593 in the British Museum.

Compare: Seyt steuene was a clerk (Sandys, 1833)
Saint Stephen Was A Clerk (Sylvester, with notes)

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (London: Printed by Richards for The Warton Club, 1856), Hymn XLIV, pp. 63-.

SEYNT Stevene was a clerk
    in kyng Herowdes halle,
And servyd him of bred and cloth,
    as every kyng befalle.
Stevyn out of kechoun cam
    with boris hed on honde,
He saw a sterre was fayr and bry§t
    over Bedlem stonde.
He kyst adoun the bores hed,
    and went into the halle,
" I forsak the, kyng Herowdes,
    and thi werkes alle.
I forsak the, kyng Herowdes,
    and thi werkes alle,
Ther is a chyld in Bedlem born,
    is beter than we alle."
" Quat eylyt the, Stevene ?
    quat is the befalle ?
Lakkyt the eyther mete or drynk
    in kyng Herodwes halle?"
"Lakit me neyther mete ne drynk
    in kyng Herowdes halle ;
Ther is a chyld in Bedlem born,
    is beter than we alle."
Quat eylyt the, Stevyn ? art thou wod ?
    or thou gynnyst to brede ?
Lakkyt the eyther gold or fe,
    or ony ryche wede ?"
" Lakyt me neyther gold ne fe,
    ne non ryche wede ;
Ther is a chyld in Bedlem born,
    xal helpyn us at our nede."
" That is also soth, Stevyn,
    also soth i-wys,
As this capoun crowe xal
    that lyth here in myn dych."
That word was not so sone seyd,
    that word in that halle,
The capoun crew Christus natus est
    among tho lordes alle.
" Rysyt up, myn turmentowres,
    be to and al be on,
And ledit Stevyn out of this town,
    and stonit hym with ston."
Tokyn he Stevene,
    and stonyd hym in the way
And therfore is his evyn
    on Crystes owyn day.

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