The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Good Day, Sire Cristemas Our Kinge

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Arch. Selden Ms. B. 26, f. 8, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics  (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #CXXXV, p. 233.

Good day, good day,
My lord sire Cristemasse, good day !

Good day, sire Cristemas our kinge,
For every man bothe olde and yinge
Is glad and blithe of youre cominge.
                Good day !

Godes sone so moche of might,
Fram heven to erthe doun is light,
And borne is of a maide so bright.
                Good day !

Heven and erthe and also helle,
And alle that ever in hem dwelle,
Of youre cominge they beth ful snelle.
                Good day !

Of youre cominge this clerkes finde,
Ye come to save all man kinde,
And of here bales hem unbinde.
                Good day !

All maner of merthes we wole make,
And solas to oure hertes take,
My semely lorde, for youre sake.
                Good day !


13. snelle, alert.

17. bale's, troubles.

Sheet Music from Sir Richard Runciman Terry, ed., A Medieval Carol Book. London: Curwen, 1931: 39.

AMCB52.jpg (614979 bytes)

The image of the page from the Selden Manuscript:

Editor's Note:

The notes at the page displaying this carol give this as the first verse:

Go day Syre crystemas our Kyng
for euery man bož olde & ȝynge
ys glad & blithe of ȝour comynge
Go day

There are numerous settings available for this carol. When searching, also look for the modernized spelling, "Good Day, Sir Christmas." In particular, see John Stevens, ed., Mediaeval Carols. Musica Britannica 4. London: Stainer and Bell, 1952, 2nd ed. 1958: 12.

The Digital Index of Middle English Verse has a listing of numerous reprintings of this carol. See: Good Day, Sir Christmas; Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 26.

Compare: Good Day, Good Day (Good day, good day, My Lord Sir Christėmas, good day!), from Rickert (1910).

Another carol that gives a personification of Christmas is I Am Here, Syre Crystes Mass - Ritson, 1829.

Note to #CXXXV, p. 273.

Selden B 26. Printed E.B.M., ii. 107 (facsimile, i. plate XLVII).

1-6. In the burden and first verse the MS. reads, 'Go day'.

Extended Citations

Selden B 26.
Selden B. 26: Oxford, Bodleian Library, Selden B. 26. 'Several MSS., apparently bound together after they came into the possession of the library' [in or about 1659] ; ff. 3-33, parchment, 10 1/4 x 7, contains 52 English and Latin carols and songs with music in 2, 3, and 4 parts. Nicholson traces eleven different hands in the music and nine in the words ; Southern English; about 1450. One tune by John Dunstable, who died 1453. Variants of four lyrics and tunes in Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58 ; including the Song on Agincourt, transcribed hence by or for Samuel Pepys, now in his collection of Ballads, i. 3. Described in E.B.M., i. xx-xxiii, and O.M.M., ii. 133 (from musical point of view). [Nos. LIX, CVII, CXXV, CXXX, CXXXV, CXLI.]

Editor's Note: this manuscript is available on-line; see Selden MS B26.

EBM, ii. 107.
Sir John Stainer, ed., Early Bodleian Music. Sacred and Secular Songs together with other MS. Compositions in the Bodleian Library, Oxford : ranging from about a.d. 1185 to about a.d. 1505. With an Introduction by E. W. B. Nicholson, and Transcriptions into Modern Musical Notation by J. F. R. Stainer and C. Stainer. Volume Two of Two volumes (vol. 1, facsimiles, vol. 2, transcriptions), 1901, p. 107 (facsimile, i. plate XLVII).

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