The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Gabriel, Of High Degree

For The Annunciation, Advent, Christmas

The Salutation Carol of the Angel Gabriel
Based on Luke 1:26-38,
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms.
Compare: Gabryell of Hy3e Degree (Wright from Ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1.)
Nova, Nova: Ave Fit Ex Eva (Rickert)

Source: Jessie L. Weston, ed., Old English Carols from the Hill MS. [Balliol College MS. 354] Translated by Jessie L. Weston. (London: David Nutt, 1911), Carol #III, pp. 5-6.


Nova ! Nova !
Ave fit ex Eva !

1. Gabriel, of high degree,
He came adown from the Trinitie.
To Nazareth in Galilee,
            With Nova!

2. He met a Maiden in that place,
And knelt him down before her face ;
He said ; ' Hail, Mary, full of grace '
            With Nova !

3. ' Thou shalt conceive and bear a Child,
Tho' thou with sin wert ne'er defiled,
Thou hast found grace, maid Mary mild !'
            With Nova !

4. The Maiden mild, beholding this,
At first was sore amazed, I wis,
Fearing lest she had done amiss,
            With Nova!

5. Quoth Gabriel : ' Dread be far from thee,
Thou shalt conceive in puritie
A Child, Whose Name shall Jesus
            With Nova!

6. Then quoth the Maid :
' How may this be,
That God's Son should be born of me ?
No man I know, no man knows me '
            With Nova !

7. The Angel answered her forthright,
' The Holy Ghost shall on thee light,
Naught is too hard for God's great might '-
            With Nova !

8. And thus the Angel spake anon :
' I trow that ere few months have gone
Elizabeth shall bear Saint John '
            With Nova !

9. Straightway that Maiden mild did cry :
' God's Handmaid verily am I,
Ecce Ancilla Domini ! '

With Nova ! Nova !
Ave fit ex Eva !

Editor's Note:

Weston's apparent source was Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), pp. 94-285: #LXIII, pp. 229-230. This work is available at both Internet Archive and Google Books.

See also Roman Dyboski, ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. Early English Text Society Extra Series No. CI (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1907, issued in 1908), #9, pp. 5-6. Over 103 songs of great variety, including 62 "sacred songs and carols." Available at Internet Archive and Google Books.

Also found in Glasgow University Library Ms. Hunterian 83 (T.3.21), f. iv verso; six 3-line stanzas plus the burden, "Gabriell off hye degre." For text and music, see:

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