The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

To Ye Now Crystes Own Derlyng

For St. John the Evangelist

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms., Balliol College MS. 354

Music: Not Stated

Source: Ewald Flügel, “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), Carol #LXXII, p. 237.


Pray for vs to the prince of peace,
Amice crysty Johannes!

1] To [ye now] 1 Crystes own derlyng
The whyche was mayd both old & yong
My hart ys set a songe to syng
amice christi Johannes! [italicize all]

2] ffor he was so clene a mayd
On crystes brest a slepe he layd
The prophettes of hevyn to hym sayd 2
amice christi Johannes!

3] Whan cryst be fore pylat was browght
thys 3 clene mayd for soke hym nowght
To dye with hym was all his thowght
amice christi Johannes!

4] Crystes moder was hym be take
A mayd to be a noder[s] 4 make
pray we to hym yat he vs not forsake
amice christi Johannes!

Notes from Flügel:

1) Eine ältere fassung dieses liedes in dem bereits erwähnten Bodl. Ms. hat: Pray for vs you prynce of pes || amici [sic!] xpi Johannes || To ye now Crystys der derlyng || yat was a mayd bothe old & zyng || Myn hert is sett for to syng. — Das Balliol Ms. hat die oben in eckiger klammer gegebenen worte nicht. Return

2) Im Bodl. Ms. lautet die Strophe (fol. 40 a):

ffor he was so clene a maye
On crystys brest a slepe he laye
The prenyteys of he[n]yn yer he saye &c. Return

3) Bodl. Ms. : Hys. Return

4) Bodl. Ms.: Won mayd to be a nodyrs make. Balliol Ms.: anoder. Return

Editor's Note:

The letter "y" is some cases should be printed as the Thorne (þ) character. Thus, in the first line, "To Ye Now" should be printed as "To þe Now", and which would be transliterated today as "To The Now."

The feast day of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, occurs on December 27, within the traditional 12 days of Christmas. For more information, see Hymns To St. John The Evangelist.

This remarkable carol occurs in at least six manuscripts, among the largest number of manuscripts that any carol is represented in. This version, of course, is from the Richard Hill Common-place Book, Balliol Ms. 354. The full list of manuscripts, according to DIMEV, To thee now Christs dear darling, plus versions found on this website, is:

1. Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. e.1 (SC 29734), f. 40

2. Oxford, Balliol College Ms. 354

3. Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.3.58 (1230)

4. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 37v-38

5. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 48v-49

6. London, British Library Harley 4294, f. 81v1

There are additional versions from these manuscripts in volumes that are under copyright.

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