The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

This Enders Nyght

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Balliol Ms. 354, Richard Hill's Commonplace Book

Music: Not Stated

Source: Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), pp. 250-251.


Burden ("yis [&c]" in the text)

This enders nyght
I sawe a sight,
A sterre as bryght,
as any day!
& euer a monge
a maydyn songe:
lulley by by,
lully lulley!

1] A lovely lady sat & sange.
& to her son thus gan she say:
my son, my lord, my dere derlyng,
why liggis thou thus Jn hay?
Myn own dere son,
how art you cum?
art you not god verey?
But neuer the lesse
I will not sees,
to syng by by lully lulley! yis [&c].

2] Than spake the child yat was so yong,
& thus me thowght he said:
I am knowen as hevyn kyng,
In Cribbe thowgh I now be layd!
Angelles bright
To me shall light,
& of yat sight
ye may be light,
& syng by by lully lulley! yis [&c].

3] Jhesu, my son, hevyn kyng!
Why lyest you thus in stall?
& why hast you no riche beddyng,
In Sum Ryche kynges hall?
Me thynkith by right,
The lord of myght,
Shulde lye in Riche aray!
but neuer the lesse
I will not sese,
To synge by by lully lulley! yis &c.

{p. 251}
4] Mary moder, quene of blis,
me thynkith it is no lawe,
That I shuld go to ye kynges [ ],
& they shuld not to me drawe!
But you shall see,
That kynges thre,
to me will cum on ye XIIth day!
ffor this beheste
geve me yowr brest,
& syng by by lully lulley! yis &c.

5] Jhesu, my son, I pray ye say,
as you art to me dere,
how shall I serue ye to thy pay,
& mak the right good chere?
all thy will
I wold ffulfill,
you knoweste it well in ffay!
both rokke ye still
& daunce the yer till!
& synge by by lully lulley! yis &c.

6] Mary, moder, I pray ye,
Take me vp on loft!
& in thyn arme
Thow lappe me warm
& daunce me now full ofte!
& yf I wepe,
& will not slepe,
Than syng by by lully lulley! yis &c.

7] Jhesu, my son, heuyn kyng,
yf it be thy will,
Graunt thow me myn askyng,
as reasoun wold & skyll!
What so euer they be
yat can & will be
mery on yis Day,
to blis them brynge
& I shall syng
lulley by by lully lulley! yis &c.

Note by Flügel

4, 2 Das reimwort im Ms. ansgelassen

Editor's Note

The letter "y" was commonly substituted for the Middle English Thorne () character, yeilding words such as "yis," "yat," etc. The Thorne character is commonly transliterated as "th." This would change the text from, for example, "yis" to "this", etc.

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

Because of the similarity of the texts from Add. MS 5465 (Fairfax Ms.) and Add. MS 5665 (Ritson's Ms.), it is impossible to determine the source of Edith Rickert's second version of this carol, This Endernight I Saw A Sight (Burden: "Ah, my dear Son," said Mary, "ah, my dear,), pp. 62-63.

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