The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Herod That Was Both Wild and Wode

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents
The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents

Words: English Traditional, Before 1529

Compare: Herode Yt Was Both Wylde And Wode (Sandys, 1833)

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

Worship we this holy day,
That all Innocents for us pray.

1. Herod that was both wild and wode,
Full much he shed of Christian blood,
To slay that Child so meek of mood,
That Mary bare, that clean may.

2. May with Jesu forth yfraught,1
As the angel her taught,
To flee the land till it were sought,
To Egypt2 she took her way.

3. Herod slew with pride and sin
Thousands of two year and within;
The body of Christ he thought to win
And to destroy the Christian fay.3

4. Now Jesus that didst die for us on the Rood,
And didst christen innocents in their blood,
By the prayer of Thy mother good,
Bring us to bliss that lasteth ay.


1. Laden. Return

2. Text: Epytte. Return

3. Faith. Return

Editor's note: "Wode" is translated as "mad" or "raging." Source: A. L. Mayhew and Walter W. Skeat, A Concise Dictionary of Middle English (link opens in a new window).

William Sandys observed: "This [is] from Addit. MSS. 5665. (formerly in Ritson's possession) being a collection of church services, hymns, carols and songs in score, made (as it supposed) in the time of Henry VIII [1491-1547, reign 1509-1547]."

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