The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Mary Is A Lady Bright

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Sloane Ms. 2593, British Library, London

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LV, p. 108.

A, a, a, a
Nunc gaudet Maria.

Mary is a lady bright ;
Sche hath a sone of meche might ;
Over all this word sche is light. 5
    Bona natalicia.

Mary is so fair and sote,
And her sone so full of pote ;
Over all this word he is bote.
    Bona voluntaria. 10

Mary is so fair of face,
And her sone so full of grace ;
In hevene he make us a place,
    Cum sua potencia.

Mary is bothe good and kinde ; 15
Evere on us sche hath mende,
That the fend schall us not schende,
    Cum sua malicia,

Mary is quene of alle thinge,
And her sone a lovely kinge. 20
God graunt us alle good endinge !
    Regnat del gratia.


7. sote, sweet.

8. pote, power.

9. bote, profit.

16. mende, mind.

17. shende, ruin.

Editor's Note:

Copies of this carol on this site include:

Chambers and Sidgwick Notes to #LV, p. 349.

Printed Archiv cix. 48 ; Wright, W.C., 23.

7. Fehr, in Archiv as above, prints :—

‘Mary is so fayr of face and fote,'

The words ‘of face’, however, are deleted in the MS. and ‘fote’ is Fehr's error for ‘sote'.

Extended Citations:

Sloane 2593.
Sloane 2593. Paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2. Songs and carols, seventy-four in number, of which three are in Latin, and the rest in English. Mainly religious or moral, but some trivial and satirical. Wright considered it to be the song-book of a minstrel (cf. Eng. Poet. e. 1) ; the last folio bears the name ‘Johannes Bardel' or ‘Bradel,' written in the same hand as the rest of the MS. Wright traces one poem to 1362-9, but probably this and others were traditional when written down ; he dates the handwriting temp. Henry VI. According to Bradley-Stratmann, the MS. was written in Warwickshire at the beginning of the XV cent. Variants of some poems appear in Eng. Poet. e. i. Extracts in Ritson (1790), Wright, Carols (1836), and S.L.P., Rel. Ant., and Fehr in Archiv, cvii. 48; Edited complete by Wright for the Warton Club in 1856 ; and by B. Fehr in Archiv, cix. 33 ; who does not print poems extracted as above, but is ignorant of the Warton Club print. Source: Notes, pp. 303-304.

Extended Citations:

Extracts in:

Edited complete by:

Archiv, cix. 48;
Bernhard Fehr, "Die Lieder der Hs. Sloane 2593," in Alois Brandl and Adolf Tobler, eds., Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Litteraturen. CIX Band / Vol. 109. (Braunschweig: George Westermann, 1902), mary is a lady bryzt, p. 48.

Wright, W.C., 23.
Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (Warton Club, 1842), Mary Is A Lady Bry3t, p. 23. (Texts from Sloane 2593);

See also Thomas 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). [Text, twenty pieces only, from Sloane 2593.]

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