The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

I Sing Of A Maiden That Is Makeles

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Slone Ms. 2593

Compare: I Sing Of A Maiden (Rickert, with notes and sheet music)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LIV, p. 107.

I sing of a maiden
    That is makeles,
King of all kinges
    To her sone sche ches.

He cam also stille
    There his moder was,
As dew in Aprille
    That falleth on the grass.

He cam also stille
    To his moderes bour, 
As dew in Aprille
    That falleth on the flour.

He cam also stille
    There his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille 
    That falleth on the spray.

Moder and maiden
    Was never non but sche ;
Well may swich a lady
    Godes moder be. 


2. makeles, without a mate.

4. ches, chose.

Also found in Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (London: Printed by Richards for The Warton Club, 1856), Hymn #XXV, p. 30, with the title "I syng a of a mayden" with three different spellings, i.e., all vs. alle, stille vs. stylle, and falleth vs. fallyt.

Notes to #LIV, p. 349:

Sloane 2593. Printed Archive, cix. 50; Wright, W.C., 30 ; Bullen, 4 ; and often since.

Jacques de Cambrai, a thirteenth century trouvere (Hist. Litt., xxiii, 631) has the following lines :—

‘Ensi com sor la verdure
Descent rosee drs ciels,
Vint en vos cors, Virge pure,
De paradis vos dous Fiels.’

I. MS. 'I syng a of a mayden'.

Extended Citations:

Archive, cix. 50;
Bernhard Fehr, "Die Lieder der Hs. Sloane 2593," in Alois Brandl and Adolf Tobler, eds., Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Litteraturen. Band CIX. (Braunschweig: George Westermann, 1902), Carol #25, "I syng of a mayden pat is makeles," p. 50. 

Wright, W.C., 30 ;
Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (Warton Club, 1842), p. 30. (Texts from Sloane 2593);

Bullen, 4 ;
A. H. Bullen, ed., A Christmas Garland: Carols and Poems From The Fifteenth Century To The Present Time (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 4.

"and often since."
See the entry in The Digital Index of Middle English, "I Sing of a Maiden," DIMEV #2281,

Sloane 2593.
Sloane 2593. Paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2. Songs and carols, seventy-four in number, of which three are in Latin, and the rest in English. Mainly religious or moral, but some trivial and satirical. Wright considered it to be the song-book of a minstrel (cf. Eng. Poet. e. 1) ; the last folio bears the name ‘Johannes Bardel' or ‘Bradel,' written in the same hand as the rest of the MS. Wright traces one poem to 1362-9, but probably this and others were traditional when written down ; he dates the handwriting temp. Henry VI. According to Bradley-Stratmann, the MS. was written in Warwickshire at the beginning of the XV cent. Variants of some poems appear in Eng. Poet. e. i. Extracts in Ritson (1790), Wright, Carols (1836), and S.L.P., Rel. Ant., and Fehr in Archiv, cvii. 48; Edited complete by Wright for the Warton Club in 1856 ; and by B. Fehr in Archiv, cix. 33 ; who does not print poems extracted as above, but is ignorant of the Warton Club print. Source: Notes, pp. 303-304.

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