The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

M and A and R and I

Words: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century
See: It Wern Fowre Letterys Of Purposy (Wright, 1856)

With a similar theme: Of These Four Letters Sing Will (Woodward)

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 7.

M and A and R and I,
Singen I will a new song.

1. Of these four letters purpose I,
M and A and R and I;
They betoken maid Mary,
All our joy of her sprang.

2. Withouten sin of her body,
M and A and R and I;
Of her was born a king truly
The Jews did to death with wrong.

3. Upon the mount of Calvary,
M and A and R and I;
There they beat His bare body,
With scourges that were sharp and long.

4. Our dear Lady she stood Him by,
M and A and R and I;
And wept water full bitterly;
Tears of blood followed ever among.

5. God that sitteth above the sky,
M and A and R and I;
Save now all this company,
And send us joy and bliss among!

Note:

Rickert notes: "This is the better of two very similar versions."

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