The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

 Vpon A Lady Fayre & Bright

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Balliol 354

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), p. 190.

Newell, newell, newell, newell,
I thanke a maydyn euery dele.1

1] vpon a lady fayre & bright
so hartely I haue set my thowght,
In euery place | wher euer I light,
on her I thynk & say right nowght!2

2] She bare Ihesu, ffull of pite,
yat all yis world with his hond hath wrowght,3
Soueraynly in mynd she in with me,
for on her I thynk & say right nowght.

3] Trewe love, loke you do me right,
& send grace yat I to blis be browght,
Mary moder, moste of myght,
on the I thynk & say right nowght,

4] God yat was on the rode don,
graunte yat all men to blis be browght,
& to mary I make my mone,
for on her I thynk & say right nowght.

Footnotes from Flugel:

1. Ein lied mit dem gleichen refrain [Nowel el el el el I thank it a maydyn euery del] findet sich im Ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1 (Bodl. Lib.) gedruckt von Wright Songs and Carols (Percy Soc. XXIII) fol. 29a (das lied selbst völlig von dem obigen verschieden. Im Lesebuche 1, 433 ist bereits auf eine inhaltlich ähnliche verwertung eines urspr. weltlichen liebesliedes zum Marienliede hingewiesen, die sich im Rel. Ant. 2, 255 abgedruckt findet (Upon a lady my love ys lente Withowten change of any chere &c). Return

2. Verse 1, Line 4: say right nowght] vgl. das verschweigen des namens der geliebten in solchen liedern wie: Iff I had wytt &c Anglia 12,260; Lesebuch 1, 134. 138 (shall no man know her name for me); 139 (but yet ye wot not whom I mene). Return

Editor's Footnote

3. Line 2 in Verse 2 was originally rendered:

yat all yis world with his hond hath wrowght,

I suspect that this is incorrect, and that the "y" in "yat" and "yis" should have been a Thorne character (ž), and thus should be:

žat all žis world with his hond hath wrowght.

The modern translations would be:

that all this world with His hand hath wrought.

"Yat" also occurs in verses 3 and 4. Return

Editor's Note:

An almost identical burden occurs in another song, The Fyrst Day Wan Crist Was Borne from Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (Percy Society, 1847), p. 42, #XXXVII. The burden and first verse follow:

Nowel, el, el, el, el,
I thank it a maydyn every del.

The fyrst day wan Crist was borne
Ther sprong a ros owt of a thorne,
To save mankynd that was for-lorne;
I thanke it a maydyn every dyll.

A note concerning MS Balliol 354 occurs in Chambers and Sidgwick, Early English Lyrics, Notes, p. 307-308.

Balliol 354.
Balliol 354. Paper, 11 1/2 x 4. Commonplace book of Richard Hill, who describes himself as ‘seruant with Mr. Wyngar, alderman of London.' John Wyngar, grocer, was alderman in 1493, mayor 1504, and died 1505. Richard Hill married in 1518 Margaret, daughter of Harry Wyngar, haberdasher, 'dwellyng in bowe parishe in London,' and the births of his seven children are recorded in the MS. from 1518 to 1526. The MS. is a miscellany of the widest character, English, French, and Latin, poems, romances, fabliaux, extracts from Gower and Sir Thomas More, receipts, legal notes, London customs, etc. Some pieces, signed by Hill, must be in his own hand ; so probably is most of the MS. The latest date in it is 1535, but part must have been written before 1504. Rimbault, 120, refers apparently to the MS. in 1851, (see notes on CXXXI), and said he intended to print it entire. Chappell (1855-59), 50, notes that this MS. had been 'recently found in the library . . . , where it had been accidentally concealed, behind a bookcase, during a great number of years.' Extracts printed by Flugel, W.L., in 1894; and thence by Pollard, 1903 ; also in Flugel, N.L. Edited, almost complete, with full table of contents, by Flugel in Anglia, xxvi, 94, printing 126 items.


Editor's Note:

See also:

Balliol Ms. 354 is available on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; see Balliol Ms. 354.

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.