The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

With Pety Movyd, I Am Constreynyd

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 #64, 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.

Off al the enmys that I can fynd,
The tong is most enmy to mankynd.

With pety movyd, I am constreynyd
    To syng a song fore yowr comfort,
How that dyvers have compleynyd
Off tong ontru and ill report,
    Saying thus, withowt dysport,
                Off all, etc.

This tong is instrument off dyscord,
    Causyng war and grett dystans
Betwyne the subjecte and the lord,
    The perfytt cause off every grevans.
    Wherfor I syng withowt dysplesans,
                Off all, etc.

Thow that prestes be never so pacient,
    In towne, cite, or in cowrt ryall;
Thow the religyus be never so obedient;
    Yeit a ill tong wyll trobull them all.
    Wherfore this song reherse I shall,
                Off all, etc.

Iff he that ill be another do saye,
    Hys propere fawtes wold behold,
How oftynnis hyme self wer owt off the way,
    Sylens to hyme that shuld be gold,
    And with me to syng he wold be bold,
                Off all, etc.

Frome this tonge a venamus serpent,
    Defend us, fader, to the we pray,
As thou onto us thi sone have snt,
    For o be borne this present daye;
    Leese that we syng and evermore saye,
                Off all, etc.

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