I Come From Heaven To Tell
Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ, with the tune of Baw Lulalaw
For Christmas Eve
Vom Himmel hoch da komm
ich her, by Martin
From Joseph Klug's Gesangsbuch, 1535
Notes and Translations: Notes for Vom Himmel Hoch Da Komm Ich Her
Music: "Baw Lulalaw", traditional Scottish song
Text based on Luke 2: 1-18
Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 82.
1. I come from heaven to tell
The best nowells that ever befell;
To you thir tidings true I bring,
And I will of them say and sing.
2. This day to you is born ane child,
Of Mary meek and virgin mild;
That blessed bairn, benign and kind,
Sall you rejoice, baith heart and mind.
3. It is the Lord Christ, God and man,
He will do for you what He can;
Himself your Saviour He will be,
Fra sin and hell to make you free.
4. He is our richt salvation
From everlasting damnation,
That he may sing in glory and bliss
For ever mair in heaven with His.
5. Ye sall Him find but2
mark or wring,3
Full simple in ane crib lying;
So lies He whilk you has wrocht,
And all this warld made of noch.
6. Let us rejoice and be blithe,
And with the herds go full swithe,4
And see what God of His grace has done,
Through Christ to bring us to His throne.
7. My soul and life, stand up and see
Wha lies in ane crib of tree.
What babe is that so gude and fair?
It is Christ, God's Son and Heir.
8. Welcome now, gracious God of micht,
To sinners vile, puir and unricht;
Thou came to save us from distress;
How can we thank Thy gentleness?
9. O God that made all creature,
How art Thou become so puir,
That on the hay and stray5 will lie,
Amang the asses, oxen and kye?
10. And were the warld ten times to wide,
Clad over with gold and stanes of pride,
Unworthy yet it were to Thee,
Under Thy feet ane stool to be.
11. The silk and sandal,6
Thee to ease,
Are hay and simple swaddling claes,
Wherein Thou glories, greatest King,
As Thou in heaven were in thy ring.
12. Thou took like pains temporal,
To make me rich perpetual;
For all this worldės wealth and gude
Can nothing richt Thy celsitude.
13. O my dear heart, young Jesus sweet,
Prepare Thy cradle in my sprite,
And I sall rock Thee in my heart,
And never mair from Thee depart.
14. But I sall praise Thee evermore,
With sangės sweet unto Thy glory;
The knees of my heart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow.
15. Glory be to God eternally,
Whilk gave His only Son for me,
The angels' joys for to hear,
The gracious gift of this New Year.
Notes from Dr. Rickert:
1. Ane Compendious Buik of Godlie Psalms and Spirituall Sangis. Return
2. Without. Return
3. Defect. Return
4. Quickly. Return
5. Straw. Return
6. Thin silken stuff. Return
Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)
I Come From Heuin To Tell - 1567, From A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs, Commonly Known as 'The Gude and godlie Ballatis,' Reprinted from the Edition of 1567 (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1897), pp. 49-51.
I Come From Heuin To Tell - 1578, From A Compendious Book of Psalms and Spiritual Songs, Commonly Known as The Gude and Godlie Ballates. (Edinburgh: Reprinted from the Edition of 1578, M.DCCC.LXVIII ), pp. 43-45.
I Come From Heuin To Tell, "Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ, with the Tune of Baw lulalaw," William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern from Ane Compendiovs Booke of Godly and Spiritvall Songs, collectit, &c. for avoyding of Sinne and Harlotrie, 15 verses); reprinted by Dalyell in Scotish Poems from the 16th Century, 1801 (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), pp. 27-29.