The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Be Merry

English Traditional
Fifteenth Century

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), Page #203

Compare: Be Merry, Be Merry (From Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols)

Be merry, be merry, I pray you, be merry every one.

1. A principal point of charity,
It is merry to be
In Him that is but One.
Be merry, be merry, I pray you, be merry every one.

2. For He that is but One in bliss
To us hath sent His son, ywis,1
To save us from our fone.2
Be merry, be merry, I pray you, be merry every one.

3. For of a maiden a Child was born,
To save mankind that was forlorn.
Man, think thereon.
Be merry, be merry, I pray you, be merry every one.

4. Now Mary, for thy Son His sake,
Save them all that mirth do make,
And hold the longest on.
Be merry, be merry, I pray you, be merry every one.

Notes:

1. Verily. Return

2. Foes. Return

Illustration from Rickert:

Make We Merry

J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century. London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891, V.

Carol in Original Form From a 15th Century Manuscript

Carol in Modern Form

Editor's Note:

Rev. Richard R. Terry notes that the words and melody are from a parchment roll in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge (Fifteenth Century.); Mode I. See: Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.3.58 (1230)

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