The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Bethlehem, That Noble Place

For Christmas Eve

Words: James Ryman, 1492

Music: Rev. Sir F. A. G. Ouseley

Source: Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, Second Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1871), Carol #32

Versions on this web site:
In Betheleem, That Noble Place (Sandys, 1833)
In Betheleem, That Noble Place (Middle English; retyped in Old Blackletter font: In Betheleem that noble place)
In Bethlehem, That Noble Place (Bramley and Stainer, 1871) - This page
In Bethlehem, That Noble Place (Wright, 1841)

1. In Bethlehem, that noble place
As by the Prophet said it was
Of the Virgin Mary, filled with grace
   Salvator mundi natus est.

Be we merry in this feast,
In quo Salvator natus est.

2. On Christmas night an Angel told
The shepherds watching by their fold,
In Bethlehem, full nigh the weld,
   "Salvator mundi natus est." Chorus

3. The shepherds were encompassed right,
About them shone a glorious light,
"Dread ye naught," said the Angel bright,
   "Salvator mundi natus est." Chorus

4. "No cause have ye to be afraid,
For why? this day is Jesus laid
On Mary's lap, that gentle maid:"
   "Salvator mundi natus est." Chorus

5. "And thus in faith find Him ye shall
Laid poorly in an ox's stall."
The shepherds then lauded God all,
   "Quia Salvator natus est." Chorus

6. Now, dear Lord, Thy Birth-day keeping,
As we bend before the shrine,
Find Thee life and health bestowing
Veiled beneath the Bread and Wine.
     Make us like Thee, child-like, God-like,
     Keep, O keep us ever Thine.

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The sixth verse is not found in Bramley and Stainer.

Sheet Music from Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., ca 1871)

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James Ryman was a Franciscan friar of Canterbury, who created a manuscript containing 119 carols and 166 lyrics -- most of which related to Christmas. Ryman was ordained as an acolyte in 1476. The manuscript is dated 1492 and is preserved in the Cambridge University Library.

This is one of the carols that were first printed by Richard Kele, Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (circa 1550), reprinted in Philip Bliss, Biographical Miscellanies (1813), and included in Edward Bliss Reed, Christmas Carols of the 16th Century, Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

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