The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Be Merry, Be Merry

For Christmas

Words and melody from a parchment roll in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. (Date, Fifteenth Century.)
Mode I

See: Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.3.58 (1230)

Compare:  Be Merry, From Rickert, and including sheet music from J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century.

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #191, p. 40.

Refrain:
Be merry, be merry, be merry I pray you everyone.

1. A principal point of charity
It is, it is merry to be
(I wis) in Him that is but One,
                        Be merry.

2. For He that is but One in bliss,
To us hath sent His son I wis,
To save us from our foes.
                        Be merry;

3. For of a maid a Child was born,
To save mankind that was forlorn,
Man think thou thereupon1
                        Be merry.

4. Now Mary for thy Sonnès sake,
Save (thou) them all that mirthè make,
And longest holdè on.
                        Be merry.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #191, p. 40.

 191-Be_Merry.jpg (108712 bytes)

Footnote by Rev. Terry:

1. The MS. Reads 'man think ther on', four syllables instead of six. To fit the line to the music I have altered it as above. [see sheet music. Ed.]

Sheet Music from Sir Richard Runciman Terry, A Medieval Carol Book: The Melodies Chiefly from MMS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1932), Carol #25, p. 48.

AMCB61.jpg (674276 bytes)

Editor's Note:

Another collection containing carols from a roll in the Library of Trinity College is J. A. Fuller Maitland, ed., English Carols of the Fifteenth Century From A MS Roll in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. (London: The Leadenhall Press, et al., 1891). With added vocal parts by W. S. Rockstro.

Illustration from Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700:

Make We Merry

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