The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hearken To Me Both Old And Young

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms.
Compare: Off A Rose, A Louely Rose (Flügel, 1903)

Music: Not Stated

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 # XIV, pp. 25-26.

All of a Rose, a lovely Rose,
All of a Rose I sing a song.

1. Hearken to me both old and young,
How from its roots a Rose-tree sprung,
Of fairer Rose no song was sung,
Never, in any King's land !

2. Branches six had that Rose, I ween,
Those branches were both bright and sheen,
That Rose is Mary, Heaven 's queen
From her breast a Flower sprung.

3. The first branch was of wondrous might ;
When it sprang forth on Christmas night
A Star shone over Bethlehem bright,
Far and wide its beams flung.

4. The second branch was of great honour,
It came adown from Heaven's tower,
Blessed shall be that goodly Flower,
Break it shall the fiend's band.

5. The third branch wide afar it spread,
To Mary in her lowly bed
Three kings its beams have safely led,
Branch and Flower to show.

6. The fourth branch sprang adown to hell,
The foul fiend's boast to surely quell,
That never soul therein should dwell,
Blest be the day and land !

7. The fifth branch was right fair to see,
It sprang to Heaven both top and tree,
There shall It dwell, our boon to be,
Yet rest in priest's hand !

8. The sixth branch It shall, by and by,
Be the five joys of Saint Mary ;
Now Christ save all this companie,
That long life we know !!

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. 232-233. 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), arol #12, pp. 7-8. Over 103 songs of great variety, including 62 "sacred songs and carols." Available at Internet Archive and Google Books.

Other versions of this carol on this website:

There are other carols on this web site with similar first lines or burdens, although they have very separate themes and lyrics, including:

"Listen, Lordings, Both Great and Small" (Burden: A, a, a, a, Nunc gaudet ecclesia):

"Listen, Lordings, both leve and dear" (Nowell, -ell, both Old and Young):

"Listen, Lordings, Both More and Less" (Burden: Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria)

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