The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The First Day When Christ Was Born

Words: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century

Compare: Nowel, el, el, el, el (Chambers & Sidgwick; First Line: The first day whan Crist was borne)
The Fyrst Day Wan Crist Was Borne (Wright, Songs and Carols (1847), p. 42.

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 180-1.

Rickert gives the title:
Nowell, el, el, el, el
I thank (it) a maiden every deal.

1. The first day when Christ was born,
There sprang a rose out of a thorn,
To save mankind that was forlorn:
    I thank (it) a maiden every deal.

2. In an ox-stall the Child was found,
In poor clothing the Child was wound;
He suffered many a deadly wound;
    I thank (it) a maiden every deal.

3. A garland of thorns on His head was set,
A sharp spear to His heart was smet;1
The Jews saiden, "Take Thee that!"
    I thank (it) a maiden every deal.

4. The Jews did cry their parliament;
On the day of judgėment,
They were afeared they should be shent.2
    I thank it a maiden every deal.

5. To the pillar He was bound,
to His heart a spear was stung;
For us He suffered a deadly wound.
    I thank it a maiden every deal.


1. Smitten. Return

2. Destroyed. Return

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.

Related Hymns and Carols