The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Blessed Bird, As I You Say

For Lent, Good Friday, Easter

Words and Music: English Traditional, Before 1536
Balliol College, Oxford. Ms. 354. XVI Cent.

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 186.

A blessed bird, as I you say,
That died and rose on Good Friday.

1. On Christes day, I understand,
An ear of wheat of a maid sprang,
Thirty winters on earth to stand,
    To make us bread, all to His pay.1
        A blessed bird, as I you say,
        That died and rose on Good Friday.

2. This corn was reapen and laid to ground,
Full sore beaten and faste bound
Unto a pillar with cordes round,
    At His finger's ends the blood ran out that day.
        A blessed bird, as I you say,
        That died and rose on Good Friday.

3. This corn was reapen with great envy
Upon the Mount of Calvary;
Token He shoed on Shere-Thursday,
    Maundy He gave to His disciples there.
        A blessed bird, as I you say,
        That died and rose on Good Friday.

4. Jesu upon His body the Cross bare;
Water and blood came from Him there;
This corn was scourged all in fere;
    Till it waxed blood-red.
        A blessed bird, as I you say,
        That died and rose on Good Friday.

5. A crowne of thorns set on His head,
And He was done on the Rood,
And beaten till His body was bloody-red;
    Thus they beat Jesu, our debt to pay.
        A blessed bird, as I you say,
        That died and rose on Good Friday.

Note from Rickert:

1. Liking. Return

Editor's Note:

It was common in those centuries to give greater emphasis to the Second Advent, that is, the Second Coming of Christ.

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