The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A bowt the felde they pypyd ryght

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms., Balliol College MS. 354

Source: Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), #LXXIII, pp. 237-238.

Tyrly tirlow, tirly tirlow
so merily the shepardes be gan to blow!

1] A bowt the felde they pypyd ryght, 1
So meryly the shepardes be gan to blow.
A down from hevyn yat ys so hygh: terly terlow!

2] Angellys ther cam A cumpany,
with mery songes And mel[o]dy,
The shepardes A non that gan A spye terly terlow!

3] Gloria in excel[s]is the Angels song,
& sayd yat pease was present A mong,
To euery man yat the feyth wolde fong!2 terly terlow!

4] The sheperdes hyed them to bedlem,
to se that blessyd son beme
And ther they fond yat glorius leme!3 terly terlow!

5] Now pray we to yat meke chyld,
And to hys moder yat ys so myld,
The whych was never defyled! terly terlow!

Footnote by Flugel:

1. Die fassung im Bodl. Ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1 (fol. 60a) lantet:

1] Abowt ye fyld yei pyped full right,
even abowt ye middes off ye nyght.
Adown ffrome heven yei saw cum a lyght. Tyrle tyrlow!

Editor's Footnotes:

The following translations are from Eleanor M. Brougham, ed., Corn from Olde Fieldes, an Anthology of English Poems from the XIVth to the XVIIth Century. (London, 1918), pp. 6-7.

2. fong = accept

3.  leme = ray

Editor's Note:

Versions of this carol occur in three known manuscripts, one of which has been lost. Some versions are composites from two or three manuscripts, such as Terly Terlow, Terly Terlow (Chambers & Sidgwick). Other versions on this website include:

I. Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. e.1

II. Oxford, Balliol College 354

III. Coventry, MS formerly owned by Thomas Sharp (burned in 1879 according to DIMEV). Versions from Thomas Sharp, Hardin Craig, and Alfred William Pollard.

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