The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Abowt the fyld thei pyped full right

For Christmas Eve

Words and Music: Traditional English
Bodleian Library. MA. Eng. Poet. e. 1. XV Cent.

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #75, 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.

    Tyrle, tyrle, so merylye the sheppherdes began to blowe.

Abowt the fyld thei pyped full right,
Even abowt the middes off the nyght;
Adown frome heven thei saw cum a light.
            Tyrle, tirle.

Off angels ther came a company,
With mery songes and melody.
The shepperdes anonne gane them aspy.
            Tyrle, tyrle.

Gloria in excelsis, the angels song,
And said, who peace was present among,
To every man that to the faith wold long.
            Tyrle, tyrle.

The shepperdes hyed them to Bethleme,
To se that blyssid sons beme;
And ther they found that glorious streme.
            Tyrle, tyrle.

Now preye we to that mek chyld,
And to his mothere that is so myld,
The wich was never defylyd,
            Tyrle, tyrle.

That we may cume unto his blysse,
Where joy shall never mysse.
Than we may syng in Paradice:
            Tirle, tirle.

I pray yow all that be here,
Fore to syng and mak good chere,
In the worship off God thys yere.
            Tyrle, tirle.

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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