The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Who This Babe, Oh! Maiden Fair

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms.
Compare Ffayre Maydyn Who Is This Barne

Music: Not Stated

Source: Jessie L. Weston, ed., Old English Carols from the Hill MS. [Balliol College MS. 354] Translated by Jessie L. Weston. (London: David Nutt, 1911), Carol #VIII, pp. 12-13.

Mater, ora Filium
Ut post hoc exilium,
Nobis donet gaitdium
Beatorum omnium !

1. Who this Babe, oh ! Maiden fair,
Thou within thine arms dost bear ?'
'Tis a King's Son, mark Him well,
Who in highest Heaven doth dwell !'
        Mater, ora Filium, etc.

2. ' Man for Father had He none
Save Himself, yea, God alone,
Fain to save mankind forlorn,
Of a maiden was He born/
        Mater, ora Filium, etc.

3. ' Kings their homage free have told,
Frankincense, and myrrh, and gold,
To my Son, of awful might,
King of Heaven, and Lord of Light !'
        Mater, ora Filium, etc.

4. ' Maiden, do thou pray for us
To thy gentle Son, Jesus,
That He grant us, of His grace,
In His Heaven to find a place !

Mater, ora Filium
Ut post hoc exilium,
Nobis donet gaudium
Beatorum omnium !

Editor's Note:

Weston's apparent source was 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. 94-285; see Ffayre Maydyn Who Is This Barne, p. 182. This work is available at both Internet Archive and Google Books.

See also Roman Dyboski, ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. Early English Text Society Extra Series No. CI (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1907, issued in 1908), "Fayre Maydyn, Who Is This Barn," Carol #2, p. 2. Over 103 songs of great variety, including 62 "sacred songs and carols." Available at Internet Archive and Google Books.

There is a musical setting at CPDL, Fair Maiden (Claude Buchanan).

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