The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hail, Comly And Clene

For Christmas

Words: Secunda Pastorurn, The Second Shepherds' Play, of the Towneley/Wakefield Cycle of Miracle Plays (c. 1460)
Attribution is commonly given to the "Wakefield Master."

Compare: Hail, Comely and Clean (Rickert, with notes)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LXV, p. 124-125.

Primus Pastor.

Hail, comly and clene,
    Hail, yong child !
Hail, maker, as I meene,
    Of a maden so milde !
Thou has wared, I weene, 5
    The warlo so wilde ;
The fals giler of teen,
    Now goes he begilde.
        Lo ! he merys,
Lo ! he laghes, my sweting. 10
A welfare meting !
I have holden my heting.
        Have a bob of cherys !

Secundus Pastor.

Hail, sufferan Savioure,
    For thou has us soght ! 15
Hail, frely foyde and floure,
    That all thing has wroght !
Hail, full of favoure,    
    That made all of noght !
Hail ! I kneel and I cowre. 20
    A bird have I broght
        To my barne.
Hail, litel tine mop !
Of oure crede thou art crop ;
I wold drink on thy cop, 25
        Litel day starne.

Tertius Pastor.

Hail, derling dere,
    Full of godhede !
I pray thee be nere
    When that I have nede. 30
Hail ! Swete is thy chere ;
    My hart wolde blede
To see thee sitt here
    In so poore wede,
        With no pennys. 35
Hail! Put furth thy dall !
I bring thee bot a ball ;
Have and play thee with all,
        And go to the tenis !


5. wared, cursed.

6. warlo, warlock.

12. heting, promise.

16. frely, noble.

16. foyde, child.

23. mop, baby.

36. dall, hand.

Notes to "Hail, Comly And Clene"
#LXV, p. 352.

England and Pollard, xiii. 710, from the play known as the Secunda Pastorurn [The Second Shepherds' Play], A similar salutation is in the Prima Pastorum (xii. 458). Mr. Pollard assigns the composition of the latest stratum of the Townley Plays, to which both Shepherd’s Plays belong, to about 1410, and the extant text to about 1460.

Extended Citation:

England and Pollard, xiii. 710.
George England and Alfred William Pollard, eds., The Towneley Plays. The Early English Text Society, Extra Series, No. LXXI. (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1879), Play XIII, The Second Shepherds' Play (Incipit Alia eorundem), Line 710, p. 139.

Editor's Note: This volume also contains Play XII, The First Shepherds' Play (Incipit Pagina pastorum), pp. 100-116. Play XIII, The Second Shepherds' Play (Incipit Alia eorundem), is found on pp. 116-140.

This volume was republished in 1952.

Another song, Can I Not Sing But 'Hoy', appears to be related to the Second Shepherds' Play as well.

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