The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

This Endernight I Saw A Sight

For Christmas Eve, For Christmas

Compare: This Endres Nyght
This Endris Night

Words and Music: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 62.

"Ah, my dear Son," said Mary, "ah, my dear,
Kiss Thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer."

1. This endernight I saw a sight,
    All in my sleep:
Mary, that may, she sang lullay
    And sore did weep;
To keep she sought full fast about
    Her Son from cold.
Joseph said, "Wife, my joy, my life,
    Say what ye would."
"Nothing, my spouse, is in this house
    Unto my pay;
My Son a king, that made all thing,
    Lieth in hay.
        "Ah, my dear Son," said Mary, "ah, my dear,
        Kiss Thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer."

2. "My mother dear, amend your cheer
    And now be still;
Thus for to lie it is soothly
    My Father's will;
Derision, great passion,
    Infinitely,
As it is found, many a wound
    Suffer shall I;
On Calvary that is so high
    There shall I be,
Man to restore, nailed full sore
    Upon a tree."
        "Ah, my dear Son," said Mary, "ah, my dear,
        Kiss Thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer."

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 21, also with modernized spelling. He notes that this carol was printed in Sandys' Christmas Carols, from Add. Ms. 5165 (ancient songs temp Henry VII and VIII). He also notes, at page 252, "The MS. from which this piece is taken contains a large collection of church-services, hymns, carols, and songs, with music. It formerly belonged to Joseph Ritson, who presented it to the British Museum. The collection deserves to be printed in full."

Editor's Note:

This text was compared, side-by-side, with the texts from Sandys and Bullen. This text was identical to that given by Bullen, and, although modernized, was also identical to that given by Sandys. That being the case, it is impossible to identify the source used by Dr. Rickert. It would be interesting to compare the appropriate folios from the Fairfax and Ritson manuscripts.

Editor's Note:

There are numerous carols with a very similar title, and at least five manuscript sources for versions of these two songs, including, but not limited to:

1. Versions from Addit. Ms. 5465, British Library:

2. Versions from Ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1.:

3. Versions from the Advocates Library, Edinburgh:

4. A Version from the Ms. Royal Appx. 58:

5. A Version from the Balliol MS. 354, the Richard Hill Commonplace Book:

6. A Version from Ritson's Manuscript, Add. MS 5665

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