The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lestenyt, Lordynges, Bothe Elde and 捭nge

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

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), Song Number XIII, pp. 16-18.
Also occurs in
Wright, ed., Songs and Carols Printed From A Manuscript in the Sloane Collection in the British Museum Preface signed Thomas Wright. (London: William Pickering, 1836), No. V.

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.

Of a rose, a lovely rose,
Of a rose is al myn song.

Lestenyt, lordynges, bothe elde and 造nge,
How this rose began to sprynge ;
Swych a rose to myn lykynge
In al this word ne knowe I non.

The aungil cam fro hevene tour,
To grete Marye with gret honour,
And seyde sche xuld bere the flour,
That xulde breke the fyndes bond.

The flour sprong in heye Bedlem,
That is bothe bry速 and schen ;
The rose is Mary hevene qwyn,
Out of here bosum the blosme sprong.

The ferste braunche is ful of my速,
That sprong on Cyrstemesse ny速 ;
The sterre schon over Bedlem bry速,
That is bothe brod and long.

The secunde braunche sprong to helle,
The fendys power doun to felle ;
Therin my速 non sowle dw[e]lle ;
Blyssid be the tyme the rose sprong.

The thredde branche is good and swote,
It sp[r]ang to hevene crop and rote,
Therin to dwellyn and ben our bote ;
Every day it schewit in prystes hond.

Prey we to here with gret honour,
Che that bar the blyssid flowr,
Che be our helpe and our socour,
And schyd us fro the fyndes bond.

Editor's Note:

Other versions of this carol on this website:

There are other carols on this web site with similar first lines or burdens, although they have very separate themes and lyrics, including:

"Listen, Lordings, Both Great and Small" (Burden: A, a, a, a, Nunc gaudet ecclesia):

"Listen, Lordings, both leve and dear" (Nowell, -ell, both Old and Young):

"Listen, Lordings, Both More and Less" (Burden: Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria)

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