The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

For Christmas Day

Words: Francis Kinwelmersch, from Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1576

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 269.

1.  Rejoice, rejoice, with heart and voice!
    In Christės birth this day rejoice! 1
        From virgin's womb this day did spring
            The precious seed that only saved man:
        This day let man rejoice and sweetly sing,
            Since on this day salvation first began.
This day did Christ man's soul from death remove,
With glorious saints to dwell in heaven above.

2.  This day to man came pledge of perfect peace,
        This day to man came perfect unity,
    This day man's grief began to surcease,
        This day did man receive a remedy
For each offence and every deadly sin
With guilty heart that erst he wandered in.

3.  In Christės flock let love be surely placed,
        From Christės flock let concord hate expel,
    Of Christės flock let love be so embraced
        As we in Christ and Christ in us may dwell;
Christ is the author of all unity,
From whence proceedeth all felicity.

4. O sing unto this glittering glorious king,
        O praise his name let every living thing,
    Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring
        The comfort that this day doth bring.
Let lute, let shawm, with sound of sweet delight,
The joy of Christč's birth this day recite.

Editor's Footnote.

1. The first lines are commonly printed as the burden or the refrain, and are not part of the first verse per se. It was common to sing the burden before the first verse and after each of the verses, although there were exceptions. Return

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 140-141. Bullen's note from page 264:

"The author, Francis Kinwelmersh, was a member of Gray’s Inn. He had a brother Antony, who also wrote verse."

Also found in G. E. P. Arkwright, Ed., Songs of Sundry Natures by William Byrd, 1589. Twelve Songs To Five Voices. The Old English Edition No. 8. (London: Joseph Williams and Oxford: James Parker & Co., 1893), No. 35, From Virgin's Womb This Day Did Spring, pp. 17-18, with notes and sheet music from William Byrd.

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