The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

His Body Is Wappyd All In Wo

Words and Music: Traditional English

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #33, 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.

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    Mary, modyr, cum and se, thi son is naylyd on a tre.

His body is wappyd all in wo,
Hand and fot he may not go;
Thi son, lady, that thou lovyst soo,
          Nakyd is naylyd upon a tree.

The blyssyd body that thou hast born,
To save mankynd that was for-lord,
His body, lady, is al to-torn,
          Hys hed with thornnys, as 3e may se.

Wan Johan ys tal begin to tell,
Mary wyld not lenger dwell,
Thyl sche cam to that hyll
          Ther sche myth her owyn son see.

My swet son, thou art me dere,
Qwy have men hang the here?
Thi hed is closyd with a brere;
          Qwy have men soo doo to the?

Johan, this woman I the betake;
Kep this woman for my sake.
On the rod I hyng for mannys sake,
          For synful men as thou may se.

This game and love we must pley,
For synfull sowlis that ar to dey;
Ther ys no man that gothe be the wey,
          That on my peynis wyl loke and se.

Fadyr, my sowle I the betake,
My body deth for mannys sake;
To hell I go withowtyn wake,
          Manns sole to make fre.

Prey we al to that blyssyd sone,
That he us help wan we not mon,
And bryng us to blys that is abone.
          Amen, amen, amen, for charite.


Note from Wright:

This song is also found, but with rather considerable variations, in the Sloan MS., fol. 23, r0.

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