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.

Compare: My Heart Of Gold (Modern English, With Notes from Husk)

Middle English
See this version retyped in Old Blackletter font: My lady went to Caunterbury

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 "Junicode" font for best display.

My harte of golde as true as stele.
As I me lened to a bough
In fayth but yf ye loue my well
Lorde so Robyn lough

My lady went to Caunterbury
The saynt to be her bothe
She met with cate of Malmesbery
Why shepyst thou in an apple rote
    My hart. etc.

Nyne myle to Mychelmas
Our dame began to brew
Mychell set his mare to gras
Lord so fast it snew
    My hart. etc.

For you loue I brake my glasse
Pour gowne is furred with blew
The deuyll is dede: for there I was
I wys it is full trew
    My hart. etc.

And yf ye slepe, the cocke wyll crow
True hart thynke what I say
Jack napes wyll make a mow
Loke who dare say hym nay
    My hart. etc.

I pray you haue me now in mynde
I tell you of the mater
He blew his horne agaynst the wynde
The crow gothe to the water


    My hart. etc.

Yet I tell you mekyll more
The cat lyeth in the cradell
I pray you kepe true hart in store
A peny for a ladell
    My hart. etc.

I swere by faynt Katheryn of kent
The gose gothe to the grene
All our dogges tayle is brent
It is not as I wene
    My hart. etc.

Tyrlery lorpyn the lauerocke songe
So meryly pypes the sparow
The cow brake lose, the rope ran home
Syr god gyue yow good morow
    My hart. etc.


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.

Editor's Note:

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).

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.