The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Cast Away The Olden

Psallimus cantantes

For Christmas

Latin words and melody from the Bodleian Library (MS. Eng. Poet e.1.ff.40y and 41)
English verses by the Rev. J. O'Conner.

Compare: Psallimus cantantes Domino nova cantica dantes, with additional verses.

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #178, pp. 14-15.


1. Cast away the olden,
Sing a new and golden
Song of holy jubilee,
Lov'd disciple John, to thee.
Jesus chose thee for His friend;
To thee, on His labouring breast,
He gave to rest,
And bear the Triune God's behest.

1. Psallimus cantantes
Nova cantica dantes,
Cum canore jubilo
Et tibi discipulo,
Qui ex priviligio
Preceteris a Domino
Dilectus es,
Amice Christi, Johannes.

2. From the garden's hollow
Faithful didst thou follow
When the rest, forsaking, fled
Peter swore he never knew,
Thou didst bide the long night through
While round Him at Caiphas behest
False witnesses pressed
John, best beloved of His best.

2. Tu in Christi cena
Meruisti bene
Veneranda proflui,
Fontis unda limpidi
Pectoris Dominici
Fluenta evangelii
Potatus es.
Amice Christi, Johannes.

3. Thou with love's own daring
Ignominy sharing
Didst affront the cross's shame
So He gave then the new name.
By His will and testament
First man to be call'd Son of God
Our Lady's ward
And Prince of all that love the Lord.

3. En Christum magistrum
Tradendum incapitu,
Capiendo a miseris,
Relictum a ceteris
Tuis condiscipulis
In atrium pontificis
Secutus es.
Amice Christi, Johannes.


Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #178, pp. 14-15.

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Notes from Rev. Terry:

1. The word Domino precedes Nova in the MS. It is here deleted as superfluous, since its inclusion would disfigure the music page with “alternative notes” which tend to confuse the average chorister. It would also involve a superfluous bar of triple time which is not applicable to say of the succeeding verses.

2. [This note refers to the sheet music. Ed.] This note may be a copyist's error, – involving as it does a skip to the next note unusual in the period. As it is unequivocally marked in the MS., I have allowed it to stand.

Note Concerning Verses from Rev. Terry:

The verses (Latin and English) have been selected irrespective of their connection with each other. There are 9 stanzas in the original.

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 #7, pp. 14-15.

AMCB27.jpg (744304 bytes) AMCB28.jpg (282395 bytes)

Editor's Note:

To see all nine verses referenced by Rev. Terry, see Psallimus cantantes Domino nova cantica dantes.

Bodleian manuscript "MS Eng Poet e 1" is also known as "The Vernon Manuscript."

One of Thomas Wright's collections was also based on this manuscript. See: Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (The Percy Society, 1847)

See in the Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. poet. e. 1 (scroll down to get to "e. 1"), c. 1460-1480.

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