The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Notes to The Coventry Carol

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28

This carol is named after the city of Coventry, England,
where the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors
anciently depicted Herod's slaughter of the innocents,
as told in the Bible and these lyrics.

The Gospel According to Matthew
Chapter 2, verses 16 - 18
Quoting Jeremiah 31:15.

"Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all the region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more."

Note: Rachel was a favorite wife of Jacob, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She died in childbirth and is buried in Bethlehem. Jacob erected a pillar to her memory there. See Genesis 35:19.

Versions of this carol:

Public Domain Recording: LibriVox Christmas Carol Collection 2006 (Recording by Kim Butler)

The Coventry Carol:
Koventria Karolo
in Esperanto! by Gene Keyes

Additional Christmas Carols by Gene can be found at Jula Karolaro

There are 148 Christmas Carols in Esperanto at Kristnaskaj Kantoj

Broadly speaking, in Western Christianity the feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated the Sunday following Trinity Sunday, and falls from mid-May to mid-June. In the traditional calendar, it is the Second Sunday After Pentecost, and nine weeks following Easter. These feasts can be celebrated on different dates in the same year depending on the liturgical calendar that is being followed by a given church (traditional vs. modern, and eastern vs. western, etc.).

See, generally, Corpus Christi Day and the Performance of Mysteries, from William Hone, The Every Day Book, 2 Vols. London: William Tegg, 1825, 1827 (Volume 1, June 2).

The Coventry Carol

During an age when most people were illiterate, the local churches and monasteries conducted a large number of theatrical performances designed to educate the people about the theological mysteries of God's creation. In England, these plays were performed as early as 1240, and persisted with great popularity until the late 1500s.1

Coventry was one of many places where these performances occurred, and her plays during the Festival of Corpus Christi were a great favorite; the plays grew great crowds and generated a great deal of business and therefore profit, or, as Dugdale observed in his The Antiquities of Warwickshire Illustrated (1656), "the yearly confluence of people to see that shew was extraordinary great, and yeilded no small advantage to this City." Various Kings and Queens visited with great regularity over the centuries.

The earliest record of plays being performed in Coventry is 1392, when the Draper's Company performed “Doomsday,” using a tenement in Little Park Street as a pageant house. Performances of the Mystery Plays in Coventry continued for almost two hundred years before being suppressed in 1579.

Concerning these mysteries, Dugdale relates:

Before the suppression of the monasteries, [Coventry] was very famous for the pageants that were played therein, upon Corpus Christi day (one of their ancient faires,) which occasioning very great confluence of people thither from far and near, was of no small benefit thereto which pageants being acted with mighty state and reverence by the Grey Friars,2 had theatres for the several scenes, very large and high, placed upon wheels, and drawn to all the eminent parts of the city, for the better advantage of spectators....”

Frontispiece to the Dissertation, "Representation of a Pageant Vehicle at the time of Performance," by David Gee (1825)3

There is quite a description of the pageantry surrounding the presentation of the pageants in Coventry on the Feast of Corpus Christi, beginning with a grand procession at day-break, in Charles Knight, William Shakspere: A Biography (London: George Routledge and Son, 1867), Chapter VIII, The Pageants, beginning on p. 93, but especially pages 96-99. He begins:

"The morning of Corpus Christi comes, and soon after sunrise there is a stir in the streets of Coventry. The old ordinances for this solemnity require that the Guilds should be at their posts at five o'clock. ..."

But in this excerpt, we give the full word-picture created by Mr. Knight: A Pageant In Coventry - Ch Knight.

This carol was a song from the Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylors, one of only two plays to have survived from the cycle of late medieval mystery plays in Coventry (the other was the Weavers' Pageant). The Pageant had roots to the 14th century, and perhaps earlier, to morality plays that tradesmen mounted far the entertainment of their monarchs and town officials, making this one of the oldest of carols. The Pageant covered the Nativity story from the Annunciation to the Massacre of the Innocents.

The original copies of the plays were always kept in the possession of the town council for safe keeping. When a copy was needed, the copyist went to the town council, but was charged a hefty fee for the privilege.

Unfortunately, most of the plays from that era have been lost. In Coventry, only two have survived, and just barely. On March 14, 1534, one Robert Croo – who apparently acted for some years as the manager of the cities pageants – made a copy of two of the plays held in Coventry, one of which was the play performed by the guilds of “the taylors and shearers,” while the other was the Weavers' Pageant which dealt with the Purification and the Doctors in the Temple.4

The manuscript was lost in a fire in 1879, but, fortunately, beginning in 1792, Coventry antiquarian Thomas Sharp, together with his friend George Nickson, gained access to numerous ancient documents held by the city of Coventry, and from them made numerous notes and copies. Presumably, it was during this time, that Sharp and Nickson saw and copied the Croo manuscript.

Sometime before 1807, Sharp shared his research with Francis Douce, a fellow antiquarian, who in that year published the text to Carol 2 in his Illustrations of Shakespeare and Ancient Manners, Volume Two, pp. 114-115. He wrote:

To add to the stock of our old lullaby songs, two are here subjoined. The first is from a pageant of The slaughter of the innocents, acted at Coventry in the reign of Henry the Eighth, by the taylors and shearers of that city, and most obligingly communicated by Mr. Sharpe. The other is from the curious volume of songs mentioned before in vol. i. p. 426. Both exhibit the simplicity of ancient manners.

Lully, lulla, thou littell tine childe,
By by lully lullay, thou littell tyne child,
By by lully lullay!

O sisters too,
How may we do,
    For to preserve this day
This pore yongling,
For whom we do singe
    By by lully lullay.

Herod the king,
In his raging,
    Chargid he hath this day ;
His men of might,
In his owne sight,
    All yonge children to slay.

That wo is me,
Pore child for thee,
    And ever morne and say ;
For thi parting,
Nether say nor sing,
    By by lully lullay."

This version was identical to the copy later published by Sharp except that the “thorrne” character (þ) was replaced with the letters “th,” thus the first line from Sharp, "Lully lulla þw littell tiné child," becomes: "Lully, lulla, thou littell tine childe."

This would be the first publication of one of the oldest carols that have come down to us. It is interesting, and almost unheard of, to have this song performed almost identically today as it was in the 16th century. Eric Routley describes it as "perhaps the simplest and most beautiful of all the 'Lullaby' carols."4b

Sharp published the Croo transcript in 1817, but only 12 copies, “for the purpose of bringing it more immediately to the knowledge of his antiquarian friends.” Fortunately, in 1825, he published 250 copies under the title, Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry, by the Trading Companies of that City.5

Right: Title page to the Dissertation.

Carol 2 has become known as “The Coventry Carol,” and this gentle lullaby was sung by three mothers of Bethlehem to their babies, urging them to "Be still, be still, my little child," just before the unwilling soldiers of King Herod came to murder their infants in Herod's attempt to eliminate a competitor, the newborn King of the Jews.

As recorded by Croo in 1534, and republished by Sharp in 1825, this touching lullaby begins:

Lully lulla þw littell tiné child
By by lully lullay
þw littell tyné child
By by lully lullay

O sisters too how may we do
For to preserve
þis day
This pore yongling for whom we do singe
By by lully lullay

Herod the king in his raging
Chargid he hath this day
His men of might in his owne sight
All yonge children to slay

That wo is me pore child for thee
And ever morne and say
For thi parting nether say nor singe
By by lully lullay

In most settings, the text beginning "Lully, lulla" is treated as a verse. However, Richard Greene, in his The Early English Carols, treats that text as the burden, with three verses. The burden is often sung before the first verse, and then again after each of the verses.6b See: The Coventry Carol, Sharp (1817).

In 1807, Douce published only the text of the three carols, but Croo's 1534 manuscript had been edited by Thomas Mawdycke in 1591 to include the music (and some stage directions), which was published by Sharp in 1825.

There have been a number of reproductions of the play, or the carol, or both, over the years including:

William Marriott's edition of 1838 gave a copy of our Carol on page 38. His copy is substantially the same as that given by Sharp (whom Marriott acknowledges in his text) except for a misprint in the third verse:

And ever morne and day. [should have been "say"]

Another early version of the Carol was that of Halliwell's in Ludus Coventriæ (1841). It was virtually the same, differing only slightly in the second verse where Halliwell wrote:

Chargith he hath this day.

This version from Halliwell contained the note on page 414 that “Sharp has printed the following....” Halliwell noted that he attempted to give the reader as faithful a copy as possible of the originals, “with all its errors and defects.”

Professor Manly's Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama (1897) contained a version of the carol on pp. 151-2. Again, his version is substantially the same, except for the second line in verse 3 which he gives as:

And ever morne and may

Manly's footnote indicates that Sharp gave the word “say” but that Professor Kittredge “corrected” it to “may.” Prof. Manly did not indicate why Prof. Kittredge gave this change. The intended Vol. 3 to this series that would have contained notes and a glossary was never published.

A copy of this carol is also found in Hardin Craig's Two Coventry Corpus Christi Plays (1902). Craig wrote that Prof. Manley's edition was the basis of his work, “though it has been carefully compared with the editions of Thomas Sharp.” His version is identical to that of Prof. Manly, including the notes.

This was one of three carols from this play. According to Elizabeth Poston, noting the later annotation by Thomas Mawdycke, 1591, where it was directed that this song ‘the women singe’, and that the shepherds sing the other two. Concerning the song, Poston wrote:

The manuscript, no longer in existence, from which Sharp transcribed the carol, gave it in a three-part setting. The carol is well performable in these three parts, impressive and rather bare in harmony. To anyone conversant with the style of the period, the addition of a fourth or tenor part in amplification of the existing harmony is obvious and presents little choice. Sharp gives the original as barred in duple metre, which Thurston Dart in his interesting edition (Two Coventry Carols, Stainer & Bell, 1902) has been careful to preserve.

The first carol was:

As I out rode this enderes night
Of thre ioli sheppardes I saw a sight
And all a-bowte there fold a star shone bright
       They sange terli terlow
       So mereli the sheppards ther pipes can blow.

This carol was to be sung by the shepherds, as was the third carol:

Donne from heaven, from heaven so hie
Of angels ther came a great companie
With mirthe and ioy and great solemnitye
      The sange terly terlow
      So mereli the shephards ther pipes can blow.

In contemporary usage, these two verses are sometimes combined into a single carol; note that the two carols have the same burden, which leads naturally to the conclusion that it is one carol, separated by dialog, and not two carols. See: As I out rode this enderes night.

These are the pages from Sharp's 1825 document that contained the lyrics to the three carols:

Songs_To_The_Pageant-113.jpg (40268 bytes) Songs_To_The_Pageant-114.jpg (28554 bytes)

Sharp also published Mawdycke's 1591 sheet music for all three carols:

Carol 1 Carol 2 Carol 3
" As I out rode this enderes night " " Lully, lulla, thou littell tine childe " " Doune from heaven, from heaven so hie "
As_I_Out_Rode-Music.jpg (162299 bytes) Lully-lulla-Music-01.jpg (111908 bytes)  Lully-lulla-Music-02.jpg (134401 bytes) Downe_From-Music.jpg (134572 bytes)

According to some authorities, an unusual aspect of Carol 2 is that is is written in a mode called “the Picardy Third.” For more information, see the Wikipedia article, "Picardy third," (Accessed Jan 9 2015).

There have been musical settings of this carol in numerous carol collections over the years. A few are reproduced below, and in The Coventry Carol, Sharp (1817). Note that there are a number of settings created in recent years that cannot be reproduced here due to copyright laws.

The version reprinted by Hardin Craig in Two Coventry Corpus Christi Plays, contained the stage directions concerning the performance of these three carols. To put these performances in context, we'll take a quick look at the structure of the play; the line numbers are from Craig's version, which is available at both Google Books and the Internet Archive.

The play opens with the Prophet Isaiah praying to God to save mankind and to "make you parfett and stronge," and at the same time confounding "cruell Sathan." (line 14) The prophesy that "a mayde schall conseyve a childe" is given, and that as it concerns Adam, the Child's "... gloreose birth schall reydeme hym ageyn from bondage and thrall." (32)

The Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to Mary is recounted (lines 47 and following). Joseph's unbelief is recounted, but an Angel of the Lord sets Joseph straight (150). The couple then travels to Bethlehem, and the three shepherds are introduced.

At line 263, it is written that "There the angelis syng "glorea in exselsis Deo" and one of the shepherds exclaims:

Hark! the syng abowe in the clowdis clere!
Hard I neyuer of soo myrre a quere.

The shepherds decide to "goo we hence to worschipe thatt chyld of hy manyffeconce," and the shepherds sing their first song, "As I owt Rodde."

As I out rode this enderes night
Of thre ioli sheppardes I saw a sight
And all a bowte there fold a star shone bright
    They sange teri terlow
    So mereili the sheppards ther pipes can blow.

They hasten to town, greet Mary, and present gifts to the child consisting of a pipe, a hat, and a pair of mittens. After Mary promises to pray for the shepherds, and just before they depart, they sing their second song, "Donne from heave from heave so hie:"

Doune from heav from heav so hie,
Of angeles
þer came a great companie,
Wt mirthe and ioy and great solemnitye,
é sange terly terlow;
    So mereli the sheppards
þer pipes cã blow.

Three individuals participate in a lengthy dialogue (332-474) concerning these "wonderfull marvellys," including the birth of a king, the redemption of humanity, etc.

Herod then makes his appearance, and after a boastful recounting of some dubious facts about himself (that Herod made heaven and hell, defeated Magog and Madroke, etc), he leaves and the "iij kings" appear (540). The first of them says that "for yondur a feyre bryght star I do see," and recalls the prophesy. Both the second and third kings, although lost, see the star, and the three of them go to Bethlehem (602).

Herod then appears, learns of the kings and their mission, and dispatches a messenger to "invite" them to speak with him. Herod asks about the star, and then invites them to dinner. The kings then depart for Bethlehem. There they greet the child and present their gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Mary blesses them, and, as they are exiting the stage, they decide to take a rest before they return to their homes. While they are sleeping, an Angel warns them not to return to Herod. The kings then depart, separately (767).

Herod discovers this, and flies into a rage. He then states that he will slay the Child, and when the soldiers protest, Herod threatens to kill the reluctant soldiers (801). An Angel then warns Joseph and Mary, and they then escape to Egypt.

At line 830, the women of Bethlehem enter with their children, singing this carol, "Lullay, Thou little tiny Child ..."

Lully lulla þw littell tiné child
By by lully lullay
þw littell tyné child
By by lully lullay

O sisters too how may we do
For to preserve
þis day
This pore yongling for whom we do singe
By by lully lullay

Herod the king in his raging
Charid he hath this day
His men of might in his owne sight
All yonge children to slay

That wo is me pore child for thee
And ever morne and say
For thi parting nether say nor singe
By by lully lullay

One of the mothers then speaks to the children:

Be styll, be styll, my lyttull chylde!
That Lorde of lordis saue bothe the and me!
For Erode hath sworne with wordis wyld
Thatt all yong chyldur sclayne the schalbe.

Three of the women declare that they will defend their children, and beg for pity, but after the third woman speaks, the Holy Innocents are killed (869). One of the soldiers says:

Who hard eyuer soche a cry
Of wemen thatt there chyldur haue lost,
And grettly reybukyng chewaldry
Throgh-owt this reme in eyuere cost,
Wyche many a mans lyff ys lyke to cost?

The soldiers then depart, and report to Herod. The Nuncio enters and announces that the Child has escaped to Egypt, which enrages Herod. The play ends as the wild Herod rides after the Holy Family (900). The three songs are printed after the play.

According to William Sandys, there is an old tradition that Herod's own son was among the innocents slaughtered. For more information, see: When Herod In Jerusalem

Other carols which may date to the time of the Coventry mysteries include The Holy Well and The Bitter Withy.

Sheet Music to The Coventry Carol

Sheet Music from Thomas Sharp, A Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry. (Coventry: Merridew and Son, 1825), pp. 113-114

Lully-lulla-Music-01.jpg (111908 bytes)  Lully-lulla-Music-02.jpg (134401 bytes)

Sheet Music from Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, Third Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., ca 1878), Carol #61.

coventry_carol_61.gif (391331 bytes)

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol #540
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Coventry_Carol_540.gif (196708 bytes)

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #38

For additional settings, see The Oxford Book of Carols (1923) #22, pp. 44-45; Erik Routley, The University Carol Book (1961), #69, p. 89, and #70, pp. 90-91; The New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), #40, pp. 118-120, and #171, pp. 576-577; Carols for Choirs 1 (1961), #23, pp. 82-83.


 1. The suppression of the religious houses that first created these plays occurred in the 1530s by King Henry VIII. The assault on English traditions continued into the 17th century when the Puritans, led by Cromwell, outlawed the performance of plays – including Christmas pageants and plays – September 2, 1642. And, being humbugs, on June 8, 1645, the Parliament abolished the observance of Christmas itself, plus Easter, Whitsuntide, and the Saint’s days. Parliament’s ordnance stated, in part:

Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

Whitsuntide is also known as Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of the crucified Jesus. The Christian Church has observed this day as the birthday of the Church. In the past, converts were often baptized at this time, wearing white garments, hence “White Sunday” (Whitsun). Return

2. “Grey Friars” was another name for the Franciscans, a religious order in the Roman Catholic Church founded by St. Francis of Assisi. Return

3. This elaborate image, “Representation of a Pageant Vehicle at the time of Performance,” was commissioned as the frontispiece to A Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry by the Trading Companies of that City, (1825) by Thomas Sharp, (1770-1841). The image was designed and executed in copper engraving by David Gee (1793-1872). It recreates a 15th-century Passion play (The Trial and Crucifixion of Christ) by the Smiths' Company of Coventry. Many of the details are based on written accounts, including wagon design itself and the people in the street. The audience includes men, women, and children, along with armed guards for the pageant wagon, men who drew the wagon from station to station, minstrels, clerics and a carpenter. The scene on stage depicts Christ, with hands bound, before an enthroned Pilate. Annas and Caiaphas are shown in mitred hats, and a boy carries a bowl of water for Pilate to wash his hands. Although somewhat speculative, the image has been influential and is often reproduced. Source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Return

4. Croo made his 1534 manuscript just in time. Four years later, in 1538, the Grey Friar's Priory that first sponsored the plays was dissolved by King Henry VIII in the first round of suppression of Catholic religious houses. The festival of Corpus Christi itself was outlawed in 1548, but the Pageants survived until 1579 because of their popular support in the Community. Return

4b. Erik Routley, The English Carol (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 110.

5. The full title was: A Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry, by the Trading Companies of that City; Chiefly with Reference to The Vehicle, Characters, and Dresses of the Actors. Compiled, in a Great Degree, From Sources Hitherto Unexplored. To Which are Added, the Pageant of the Shearmen & Taylors' Company, and Other Municipal Entertainments of a Public Nature. Return

6. William Hone, Ancient Mysteries Described, p. 218. The original quotation itself was in quotation marks indicating to me that it was a quote from Sharp's edition. According to Hardin Craig, the full title of the 1817 work was The Pageant of the Sheremen and Taylors, in Coventry, as performed by them on the festival of Corpus Christi; together with other pageants, exhibited on occasion of several royal visits to that city; and two specimens of ancient local poetry. Return

6b Richard L. Greene, ed., The Early English Carols (Oxford; At the Clarendon Press, 1935), "O Sisters Too," #112, p. 71. Return

7. Note: there is considerable debate concerning when and where this version was actually performed. Because my interest is in the song and less so the play, I leave this argument to others. The source for the Halliwell text was the Cotton Manuscript of 1468 and would thus predate Croo's edition by at least 66 years. In referring to the Sharp edition of 1816 [sic], Mr. Halliwell notes “Mr. Sharp has also printed a Coventry play of a later date....” See: Esther L. Swenson, An Inquiry Into the Composition and Structure of Ludus Coventriae. Minneapolis: Bulletin [Number 1] of the University of Minnesota, October, 1914. Return

8. It should be noted that in Manly's edition, there occurred notes attributed to “Kittredge.” In the Preface, Professor Manly explained that “... the emendations of Professor Kittredge, whose suggestions, as being unpublished and communicated directly to me, are always distinguished by his unabbreviated surname” (as opposed to the letter “K”). “Kittredge” referred to George Lyman Kittredge, Gurney Professor of English Literature, Harvard College. The Manly edition was part of a literary series whose general editors were Kittredge and C. T. Winchester. Return


Ian Bradley, The Daily Telegraph Book of Carols. London: Continuum Books, 2006. Excellent notes on pp. 215-218. Recommended.

Douglas Brice, The Folk Carol of England. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1967, pp. 65-66 for a description of the Mystery Plays.

Frederick Leigh Colvile, The Worthies of Warwickshire Who Lived Between 1500 and 1800 (Warwick: Henry T. Cooke and Son; London: J. R. Smith, 1870). Regarding Thomas Sharp, pp. 676-679.

Corpus Christi Day and the Performance of Mysteries,” William Hone, The Every Day Book, Volume 1 of 2 Vols. London: William Tegg, 1825, 1827.

Hardin Craig, Two Coventry Corpus Christi Plays. London: Published for the Early English Text Society, 1902. Craig reprints the Coventry Carol exactly as Sharp copied it. Contains both the Shearmen and Taylor's play and the Weaver's Play. The Weaver's play was found in the possession of the Clothiers and Broad Weaver's Company of Coventry, as well as in Sharp's 1836 volume. This volume is available at both Google Books and the Internet Archive.

Percy Dearmer, R. Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw, eds., The Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928.

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

Daniel Donoghue, Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend (Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, 2008), p. 53.

Francis Douce, Illustrations of Shakespeare and Ancient Manners. Volume Two of Two Volumes. (London: Longman, Hurst, Reeds and Orme, 1807). Reprinted in 1839 as a single volume.

William Dugdale, The Antiquities of Warwickshire Illustrated; From Records, Leiger-Books, Manuscripts, Charters, Evidences, Tombes, and Armes: Beautified With Maps, Prospects and Portraictures. (London: Thomas Warren, 1656). The quotations above were found on p. 116.

Richard L. Greene, ed., The Early English Carols (Oxford; At the Clarendon Press, 1935), "O Sisters Too," #112, p. 71. Greene correctly, in my estimation, has the text beginning "Lully, lulla" as a burden, and the first of three verses beginning "O sisters too." This carol is included among the five Carols of the Innocents; the Lullaby Carols beginning with #142, p. 97, through #155, p, 115-116.

James Orchard Halliwell. Ludus Coventriæ. London: Printed for the Shakespeare Society, 1841. At one time it was thought that these plays were performed in Coventry, but later scholars no longer hold that view.

Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Christmas Carol (New York: Avenel Books, 1976), p. 2.

William Hone, Ancient Mysteries Described: Especially the English Miracle Plays.1823. Hone wrote in a note on page 218 that in the summer of 1819 he was permitted to borrow a copy of the 1817 edition.

Hugh Keyte and Parrot, Andrew, eds., The New Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Their excellent notes are highly recommended.

Robert Joseph, The Christmas Book. New York: McAfee Books, 1978.

Pamela M. King, The Coventry Plays, 2000. Site accessed August 11, 2008.

William Marriott, A Collection of English Miracle-Plays. Basel: Schweighauser & Co., 1838. This edition, oddly, is often overlooked by scholars. Marriott gives the date of Robert Croo's transcription as the “xiiijth dey of Marche” the 15th of March, rather than the 14th of March as given by Hone and others. Marriott also gives another very different play titled “Candlemas-Day or The Killing of the Children of Israel.”

John Matthews Manly, Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama. Vol. 1. Boston: The Athnaeum Press, 1897.

William J. Phillips, Carols: Their Origin, Music, and Connection with Mystery-Plays. London: Geo. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1921.

Elizabeth Poston, The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols. London: Penguin, 1965.

Erik Routley, The English Carol. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959.

Erik Routley, The University Carol Book. Brighton: H. Freeman & Co., 1961.

Thomas Sharp, Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry, by the Trading Companies of that City. (Coventry: Merridew and Son, 1825). Available at Google Books and the Internet Archive.

Thomas Sharp, The Presentation in the Temple, A Pageant, as originally represented by the Corporation of Weavers in Coventry. This edition was prepared for the Abbotsford Club in 1836. Available at Google Books ; The Weaver's Play is also contained in Hardin Craig's book, Two Coventry Corpus Christi Plays.

Sharp, Thomas, (1770-1841)” by Edward Irving Carlyle in Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51.

William L. Simon, ed., The Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook. Pleasantville, NY: Readers Digest Association, revised 2003.

Henry Southern, et. al., eds., The Retrospective Review, and Historical and Antiquarian Magazine. Volume 13. London: C. and H. Baldwyn, 1826

Matthew Lyle Spencer, Corpus Christi Pageants in England. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company, 1911. This was a doctoral dissertation submitted to the faculty at the University of Chicago. Spencer was a student of Professor Manly.

William Studwell, The Christmas Carol Reader. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1995

Esther L. Swenson, An Inquiry Into the Composition and Structure of Ludus Coventriae. Minneapolis: Bulletin [Number 1] of the University of Minnesota, October, 1914.

Also see The Works of Thomas Sharp In Six Volumes, Published by Roberrt Horsfield, 1763. All volumes available at Google Books and the Internet Archive except for Volume 6, which I could not find. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.

Volume 1:

Volume 2:

Volume 3:

Volume 4:

Volume 5:

Volume 6: Not Found

Internet Archive:

Volume 1:

Volume 2:

Volume 3:

Volume 4:

Volume 5:

Volume 6: Not Found

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