The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Ittes Knowyn In Every Schyre

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 #36, 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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A man that con his tong stere,
He ther not rek wer that he go.

Ittes knowyn in every schyre,
Wekyd tongges have no pere;
I wold thei were brent in the fer,
            That warke men soo mykyll wo.

Ittes knowyn in every long,
Wekyd tongges don gret wrong,
Thei make me to lyyn long,
            And also in myche car.

3yf a man go in clothes gay,
Or elles in gud aray,
Wekyd tongges yet wyl say,
            Were came the by therto.

3yf a man go in cloys ill,
And have not the world at wyl,
Wekyd tongges thei wyll hym spyll,
            And seyd he ys a stake, lat hym goo.

Now us to amend God 3eve us grace,
Of repentens and of gud grace,
That we mut se hys glorius face.
            Amen, amen, for charyte.

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