The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The First Nowel

For the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6

Version 5
See notes under The First Nowell

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: Sir Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #9, pp. 18-19.

1. The first Nowel the Angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds, in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Chorus:
Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
Born is the King of Israel.

2. They look's above and there saw a star,
That shone in the East beyond them afar,
And which to earth did give a great light,
And so it continued by day and by night.
        Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
        Born is the King of Israel.

3. And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far,
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.
        Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
        Born is the King of Israel.

4. This star drew near unto the north west,
At length over Bethlehem seemed to rest,
And there it stayed by night and by day,
Right over the place where Jesus lay.
        Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
        Born is the King of Israel.

5. Then entered in those wise men three
Most reverently with bended knee,
And offered there, in His presence,
Both gold and myrrh, with frankincense.
        Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
        Born is the King of Israel.

6. Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That made both heaven and earth of nought
And with His blood mankind hath bought.
        Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel
        Born is the King of Israel.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #9, pp. 18-19.

009a-First_Nowel.jpg (157277 bytes) 009b-First_Nowel.jpg (122204 bytes)

Also found in Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #2, pp. 2-3, who notes "Old English Carol. Words and Melody Traditional."

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