The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Young And Old Must Raise The Lay

For Christmas

Words: Rev. John Mason Neale
Version 3

See: Young And Old Must Raise The Lay-1855, with notes.

Music: "To The Tune of 'Good King Wenceslas.' "
Tempus adest floridum"]

 Other music includes "Aachen Gesangbuch" and an Old Melody Harmonized by Michael Praetorius, 1610.

Source: John Mason Neale, ed., Sequences, Hymns and Other Ecclesiastical Verses (London: J. T. Hayes, 1866), pp. 89-91. Text only.

1. Young and old must raise the lay
    That their heart engages;
For the child is born today,
    Who is King of Ages:
For the God, by all adored,
    Comes to His elected;
For the Babe, that is the Lord,
    Comes to be rejected.

2. If the purple proves the King,
    Where is goodly raiment?
If man needeth ransoming,
    Who shall make the payment?
For the purple here is grass;
    For the throne, the manger;
For the courtiers, ox and ass,
    Kneel before the Stranger

3. Joshua hastes to meet the foes,
    Boastful and defiant;
David to His breathren goes,
    And shall slay the giant;
Help is nigh to change our fate,
    Help we may rely on:
Solomon, with royal state,
    Shall be crown'd in Gihon.1

4. Through the desert as we go,
    Sorrowful and fearing,
From the Rock the waters flow,
    That shall work our cheering:
Manna, wherewith all are fed,
    Comes for our salvation,
Born in Bethlehem, House of Bread
    By interpretation.

5. Young and old must raise the lay
    That their heart engages:
For the Child is born today,
    Who is King of Ages:
Young and old their deeds so frame,
    That, as He came hither,
They, when he their lives shall claim,
    May to Him go thither.


1. Gihon is the name of a spring near Jerusalem, where Solomon was anointed to succeed David. Return

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), #417
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Young_And_Old_417.gif (183168 bytes)

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles L. Hutchins, #681
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Young_And_Old_681.gif (153572 bytes)

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1902, Revised and Expanded Edition 1929), Carol #15
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF


Rev. Neale noted "Imitated from the Spirituale Rosetum of John Mauburn circ. 1460." See: Heu! quid jaces stabulo, with notes and links.

Carol 417 contains five verses with 8 lines each. Carol 681 contains eight verses with 4 lines each, and omits verse three above; See: Young And Old Must Raise The Lay-Hutchins.

This is thought to be the third and last version by Rev. Neale, as the collection in which it appears was the last to be edited by Rev. Neale before his death. The version that appeared originally in St. Margaret's Hymnal, although printed in 1875, was edited much earlier by Rev Neale, and would thus be the second version of this carol. It is this version that is reproduced in the 1914 edition of his works. See: Young And Old Must Raise The Lay-1875

The first version was printed in 1855. See: Young And Old Must Raise The Lay-1855

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