The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As Y Lay Vpon A Nyƺt

Alma redemptoris mater

For Advent to Epiphany

Words: English Traditional from Selden B 26 And Other Sources

Music: Not Stated

Source: Frederick Morgan Padelford, "English Songs in Manuscript Seiden B. 26" (Üniversity of Washington, Dec. 3, 1910) in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia ; Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Vol. XXXVI. (Halle a.S.: Max Niemeyer, 1912), Song #8, pp. 93-95.

Editor's Note: This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.


Alma redemptoris mater.

[As] Y lay vpon a nyƺt,
my-ŝoust Y say a semly syƺt
ŝat callid was Mary briƺt,
     redemptoris mater. 5

Ther come Gabriel with lyƺt,
and saide, 'Haile! ŝou swete wyƺt,
to be clepyd ŝou art a-dyƺt
     redemptoris mater.

Ther she conceyued God almyƺt, 10
ŝat was in stalle wih here al nyƺt;
and ŝere me knewe wliat he hyƺt
     redemptoris mater.

Whan Ihesu was on ŝe rode y-pyƺt,
Mai'y was sory of ŝat syƺt, 15
tyl ŝat she say hym ryse vpryƺt,
     redemptoris mater.

And after to heuen he toke his flyƺt;
ther he is nowe in blysse bryƺt,
and with hym pat swete wyƺt — 20
     redemptoris mater.

 Editor's Note:

Padelford reproduced three other versions of this carol, from the sources so indicated:

Source: Balliol 354, f. 222a:

Now syng we all in fere,
alma redemptoris mater.

As I me lay on a nyght,
me-thowght I sawe a semly wyght,
that clepid she was ryght
            Alma redemptoris mater.

To her com an angell with gret lyght
and sayd, 'Hayle be ŝou blessid wyght,
to be cleped thou art right
            [alma redemptoris mater.]

At that Word the maydyn bryght
a-non concey vyd God Almyght,
Then knew Mary what she hyght:
            [alma redemptoris mater.]

Whan Ihesu on the rode was dyght,
Mary was sorofull of that syght
tyll after she sawe hym ryse vp-right,
            alma redemptoris mater.

Source: Sloane 2593, f. 30b:

        Alma redemptoris mater.

As I lay upon a nyƺt,
my ŝowt was on a mayde bryƺt,
ŝat men callyn Mary of myƺt,
            redemptoris mater.

To here cam Gabriel so bryƺt
& seyde, 'Heyl, Mari, ful of myƺt,
to be cald ŝu art a-dyƺt
            redemptoris mater.

After ŝat word ŝat mayde bryƺt
a-non conseyuyd God of myƺt,
& ther-by wyst men that che hyƺt
            redemptoris mater. 

Ryƺt as ŝe sunne schynit in glas,
so Ihesu in his moder was,
& ŝerby wyt men ŝat che was
            redemptoris mater.

Now is born ŝat babe of blys,
& qwen of heuene his moder is,
& ŝerfore ŝink me[n] ŝat che is
            redemptoris mater.

After to heuene he tok his flyƺt,
& ŝer he sit with his fader of myƺt;
with hym is crownyd ŝat lady bryƺt,
            redemptoris mater. 

Source: Trinity College, Cambridge, 0. 3. 58:

Alma redemptoris mater.

As I lay vp-on a nyth,
my thowth was on a berd so brith
tliat men clepyn Marye ful of myth,
            redemptoris mater.

[TJo here cam Gabryel wyth lyth
and seyd, 'Heyl be thou, blysful wyth
to ben clepyd now art thon dyth,
            redemptoris mater

At that wurd that lady byrth
anon conseyuyd God, ful of myth;
than men wyst weel that sehe hyth
            redemptoris mater

[Q]wan Ihesu on the rode was pyth,
Mary was doolful of that syth
til sehe sey hym ryse vp-rith,
            redemptoris mater

Ihesu, that syttyst in heuene lyth,
graunt vs to comyn be-forn thi sith,
wyth that berde that is so brith,
            redemptoris mater

Versions on this web site:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.