The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Sit You, Merry Gentlemen

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional
Bodleian Library, MS Eng. poet. b. 5., ca 1650

Music: "Tidings of Comfort and Joy" as found in "The overthrow of proud Holofernes, and the
Triumph of virtuous Queen Judith," the Halliwell Collection of Broadsides, No. 263, Chetham
Library.

See: God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen - Notes

Sit yow merry Gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
for Jesus Christ is borne
to save or soules from Satan's power
Whenas we runne astray
    O tidings of comfort & joy
    to save or soules from Satan
    When as we runne away
    O tidings of comfort & joy

In Bethlehem sweet Jury
this blessed babe was fownd
And layd within A manger
upon this blessed morne
When as his mother mary
Did nothing take in Vaine
    O tidings of comfort & joy
    When as his mother mary
    Did nothing take in Vaine
    O tidings of comfort & joy

ffrom God that was his father
A blessed Angell came
And unto certaine sheapheards
brought tidings of the same
how that in Jury there was borne
the sonne of God by name
    O tidings of comfort & joy
    how yt in Jury there was borne
    the sonne of god by name
    O tidings of comfort & joy

O feare not say'd the Angell
Let nothing you affright
this day is borne a saviour
of vertue power and might
sufficient for to vanquish
the frendes of Sattan quite
    O tidings of comfort & joy,et

The sheepheards at this hearing
rejoyced much in minde
Did cease their sheepe a feeding
in tempest storms And winde
And went straight way to bethelem
this blessed babe to finde
    O this tidings of comfort & joy,et

And when they came to bethlehem
whereat this infant lay
they found him in a manger
Where oxen bed with hay
the Virgin mary kneeling by
who to or Lord Did pray
    O tidings of comfort & joy, et

With sudden joy and gladnesse
there sheepheards harts were fild
to see the babe of Israell
before his mother milde
therefore with mirth And cheerefullnesse
rejoice each mothers childe
    It is tidings of comfort & joy, et

Unto or lord sing praises
All you within this place
And wth true love and brotherhood
each other now embrace
this moving time of christmas
All malice now Defame
    At this tidings of comfort & joy,et
    this merry time of christmas
    All malice now defame
    At this tidings of comfort & joy
                finis

Note:

From Oxford Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. b. 5. This manuscript of c 1650 (which is all carols) contains the song here and and several other carols not elsewhere found before 1833 Sandy's collection. The carol is without title in the manuscript. [Traditional tune for "Sit you merry" is "Chestnut or (Jack) Doves Figary" in Dancing Master from 1st edition, 1651.]

Source: A webpage created by the late Bruce Olson at California State University, Fresno. Bruce Olson died on October 31, 2003. The entire contents were also copied to Mudcat.org. All credit goes to Bruce, and our belated thanks for his generous sharing of his work.

The Bodleian Library MS Eng. poet. b. 5, a book mainly of religious songs for communal use assembled in the 1650s and known to have been amongst the recusants of Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire. Source: Ingenta Connect. (Unfortunately, "This publication is no longer hosted on ingentaconnect," as of September 3, 2012).

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