The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Bethlehem, That Fayre Cite

For Christmas

Words: 15th Century in MS. Ee. 1. 12., f. 1.r., Cambridge University Library

Source: Richard Greene, The Early English Carols, #21D, p. 16.

Synge we now both all and sum:
Christe redemptor omnium.

1. In Bethlehem, that fayre cite,
Born was thys chylde so fayer and fre,
That Lorde and Kyng shal ever be,
    A solis ortus cardine.

2. Ryght as the son shynyth on the glasse,
So Chryste Jesu in Owr Lady was;
Hym to sarue God sende vs grade,
    O lux beata Trinitas.

3. Cheldren were slayne grete plente,
Jesu Crist, alle for the loue of the;
Lorde, helpe vs y7f thy wyl it be.
    Hostis Herodes impie.

4. Now ys he boren of Owr Lady,
The Son of the Father that sytthyt at hye;
For owr synnys cry we all mercy,
    Jesu saluator seculi.

Editor's Note:

The popularity of this carol can be seen by its appearance in an unusually large number of 15th century manuscripts including

Trinity College Library, O. 3. 58. (James, No. 1230)

Balliol 354, Richard Hill's Comonplace Book, Balliol College, Oxford

Eng. Poet. e. 1., Bodleian Library, Oxford

MS. Ee. 1. 12., f. 1.r., Cambridge University Library

Selden B. 26, Bodleian Library, Oxford
No samples.

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