The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

My lady went to Caunterbury

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional
Huntington Library. Christmas carolles newely Inprynted (Richard Kele) c. 1550.

Source: Edward Bliss Reed, ed., Christmas Carols Printed in the 16th Century Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

This carol requires the installation of the "Old Blacketter" font for best display.

Available in a Middle English Font: My lady went to Caunterbury


My harte of golde as true as ~tele.

As I me lened to a bough

In fayth but yf ye loue my well

Lorde ~o Robyn lough

My lady went to Caunterbury

The ~aynt to be her bothe

She met with cate of Malme~bery

Why ~hepy~t thou in an apple rote

    My hart. &c.


Nyne myle to Mychelmas

Our dame began to brew

Mychell ~et his mare to gras

Lord ~o fa~t it ~new

    My hart. &c.


For you loue I brake my gla~~e

Pour gowne is furred with blew

The deuyll is dede: for there I was

I wys it is full trew

    My hart. &c.


And yf ye ~lepe, the cocke wyll crow

True hart thynke what I ~ay

Jack napes wyll make a mow

Loke who dare ~ay hym nay

    My hart. &c.


I pray you haue me now in mynde

I tell you of the mater

He blew his horne agayn~t the wynde

The crow gothe to the water


    My hart. &c.


Yet I tell you mekyll more

The cat lyeth in the cradell

I pray you kepe true hart in ~tore

A peny for a ladell

    My hart. &c.


I ~were by faynt Katheryn of kent

The go~e gothe to the grene

All our dogges tayle is brent

It is not as I wene

My hart. &c.

Tyrlery lorpyn the lauerocke ~onge

So meryly pypes the ~parow

The cow brake lo~e, the rope ran home

Syr god gyue yow good morow

My hart. &c.


Excerpt of notes from Richard Greene, A Selection of English Carols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), pp. 262-263:

The words and first stanza occur in a round or canon in Ravenscroft's Pammelia (1609)....

The nonsense of this delightful piece if free-ranging, and it is hardly to be classified as a 'lying song' as Utley suggests (p. 203).

The reference is to Francis Lee Utley, The Crooked Rib, Ohio State University Contributions in Language and Literature, No. 10. Columbus, 1944.

This is one of the carols that were first printed by Richard Kele, Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (circa 1550), reprinted by Philip Bliss, Biographical Miscellanies (1813), and included in Edward Bliss Reed, Christmas Carols of the 16th Century, Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

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