The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Jhesu was born in Bedlem Judé

For the Epiphany

Words and Music: English Traditional

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

Source: 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 #XXXIV, pp. 40-42.

The sterre hym schon bothe ny3t and day,

To lede thre kynges ther our Lord lay.

Jhesu was born in Bedlem Judé,

Of mayde Mary, thus fynde we ;

Out of the est come kynges thre

    with ryche presentes, as I 3ow say.


As they went forth in here pas,

The sterre schon al in here fas

As bry3t as golde withine the glas,

    to Bedlem to ledyn hem the way.


Kyng Herowdes was most of pryse,

He seyde to tho thre kynges that wern so wys

" Go and sekit me 3one chyld of pryse,

    and comit ageyn be me, I 30u pray.


And I myself xal with 3ow wynde,

The chyld to worchepe, the child to fynde,

And worchepyn hym with al myn mynde,

    with al the onour that I may."


Quan they kemyn into that plas

Ther Jhesu with his moder was,

They settyn hem doun and made solas,

    and every kyng to other gan say.


Quan they haddyn offerid up here presens,

With gold and myrre and francincens,

As clerkes redyn in here sequens,

    he took it of hem, and seyd not nay.


Quan they hadde offerid here offeryng

To Jhesu that is hevene kyng,

Of an aungyl they hadd warnyng,

    to wendyn hom be another way.


The aungyl cam fro hevene kyng,

And bad tho thre kynges ageyn hom wynd,

Therin to dwelle, therin to ben,

    til kyng Herowdes endyng day.


Kyng Herowde wox wol ille,

For tho thre kynges comyn hym not tille,

For to fulfille his wykkyd wille,

    and to his knytes he gan say,


Kyng Herowdes wox wroth anon,

The chylderin of Israel he dide slon,

He wende Jhesu hadde ben the ton,

    and 3yt he falyid of his pray.


Kyng Herowdes deyid, and went to helle,

For swete Jhesus that we spelle ;

God saf us fro the peynis of helle,

    and fro the wykkid fyndes pray.

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