The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lystenyt, lordyngs, more and lees

For Christmas

A Christmas Carrol

From MS. li. iv. 11. in the Cambridge Public Library, of the fifteenth century, fol. penult. v°.

Thomas Wright and James Orchard Halliwell, eds., Reliquiæ Antiquæ. Vol. 1 of 2. (London: John Russell Smith, 1845), p. 203.

Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria.

Lystenyt, lordyngs, more and lees,
I bryng yow tydynd of gladnes,
As Gabriel beryt wytnes;
                            dicam vobis quia.

I bryng yow tydynges that [arn] fwul gowde;
Now es borne a blyesful fowde,
That bowt us alle upon the rode
                            sua morte pia.

For the trespas of Adam,
Fro ys fader Jhesu ho cam,
Here in herthe howre kende he nam,
                            sua mente pia.

Mayde moder, swete virgine,
Was godnys may no man divine,
Sche bare a schild wyt wot pyne,
                            teste profecía.

Mari moder, that ys so fre,
Wyt herte mylde y pray to the,
Fro the fend thou kepe me
                            tua prece pia.

Editor's Note:

Also including this carol, and citing this source, is Richard Leighton Greene, ed., The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977: 25; 1977, 19-20

Another version of this Middle English verse was found in MS. Harl. No. 5396, p. 18. Translations include:

Finally, there is a third version of this Middle English carol. It has been located in London (Kew), Public Record Office C 47/34/1/12, f. 1.  according to the Digital Index of Middle English Verse, DIMEV 756, Be glad lordings both more and less. However, apparently there is no known published translation based on this version of the Middle English verses.

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 Old and Young"

This Rose is Railed on a Ryse (Of a rose singè we), Text Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 11, from Ms. Selden B 26, folio 9v.

"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):

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