The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Under A Tre, In Sportyng Me

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English
Bodlein Library. MS. Eng. poet e. 1. XV Century.

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #61, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

A song upon, Now must I synge, etc.

    Nowel, nowel, nowel, syng we with myrth,
    Cryst is come wel, with us to dwell,
    By hys most noble byrth.

Under a tre, in sportyng me
    Alone by a wod syd,
I hard a mayd that swetly sayd,
    I am with chyld this tyd.
            Nowell, etc.

Gracyusly conceyvyd have I
    The son of God so swete;
Hys gracyous wyll I put me tyll,
    As moder hym to kepe.
            Nowell, etc.

Both nyght and day, I wyll hym pray,
    And by hys lawes taught,
And every dell hys trewe gospell
    In his apostles fraught.
            Nowell, etc.

Thys goostly case dooth me embrace,
    Withowt dyspyte or moke,
With my derlyng, lullay to syng,
    And lovely hym to roke.
            Nowell, etc.

Withowt dystresse, and grete lyghtnesse,
    I am both nyght and day;
This hevenly fod, in hys chyldhod,
    Schal dayly with me play.
            Nowell, etc.

Soone mut I syng, with rejoycyng,
    For the tym is all ronne,
That I schal chyld, all undefyld,
    The kyng of hevens sonne.
            Nowell, etc.

Editor's Note:

Also found in Richard Greene, ed., A Selection of English Carols (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1962),#56, pp. 116-117.

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