The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Mother, White As Lily Flower,
Your Lulling Lesseth My Languor

Words: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 68-9.

Compare: As I Up Ros In A Mornyng - Thomas Wright (1847)
As I me ros in on morwenyng - Thomas Wright (1856)

Mother, White As Lily Flower,
Your Lulling Lesseth My Languor

1. As I up rose in a morning,
My thought was on a maid(en) ying,
That sang asleep with her lulling,
    Her sweet Son, our Saviour.

2. As she Him held (all) in her lap,
He took her lovely by the pap,
And thereof sweetly He took a nap,1
    And sucked His fill of the liquor.

3. To His mother gan He say:
"For this milk me muste die,
It is my kind therewith to play,
    My sweet mother, par amour."2

4. The maiden freely gan to sing,
And in her song she made mourning,
How He that is our heaven(ly) King
    Should shed His blood with great dolour.

5. "Mother, thy weeping grieveth me sore
Save I would die, thou hadst been lore;3
So away, mother, and weap no more;
    Thy lulling lesseth my languor."

6. Such mourning as the maiden made,
I cannot tell it in this hour;
Therefore be merry and glad,
    And make us merry for our Saviour.


1. Draught. Return

2. For love's sake. Return

3. Lost. Return

Rickert's note, page 152:

"This carol shows in about its simplest form the extension of the episode in which the Child replies. In some of the sixteenth-century carols it grows into a long prophetic narrative of Christ's life and death uttered by Himself in the cradle, usually combined with a lullaby refrain."

Note from Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #46:

This song also is in the Sloane MS., fol. 16, v0.


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