The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Nay, Nay, Ivy !

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms., Balliol College Ms. 354

See: Nay, Nay, Ivy! ("Holly beareth berries") (Rickert, 1910)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #CXLI, pp. 239-240.

See Notes Under The Holly And The Ivy.

Nay, nay, Ivy !
It may not be, iwis,
For Holly must have the mastry
As the maner is.

Holly bereth beris, 5
    Beris rede enough ;
The thristilcok, the popingay
    Daunce in every bough.
Welaway, sory Ivy !
    What fowles hast thou, 10
But the sory howlet
    That singeth ' How how ' ?

Ivy bereth beris
    As blak as any sloe.
There commeth the woode colver, 15
    And fedeth her of tho ;
She lifteth up her taill
    And she cakkes or she go ;
She wold not for an hundred pound
    Serve Holly so. 20

Holly with his mery men
    They can daunce in hall ;
Ivy and her jentell women
    Can not daunce at all,
But like a meine of bullokes 25
    In a water fall,
Or on a hot somers day
    Whan they be mad all.

Holly and his mery men
    Sitt in cheires of gold ; 30
Ivy and her jentell women
    Sitt without in fold,
With a paire of kibed
    Heles caught with cold.
So wold I that every man had 35
    That with Ivy will hold !


15. colver, pigeon.

16. tho, them.

18. cakkes = Lat. cacat.

25. meine, company.

33. kibed, covered with chilblains.

Notes to #CXLI, p. 375.

Balliol 354. Printed Anglia, xxvi. 279; Flügel, W.L., 83.

14. sloe; the MS. reads 'sho'.

Extended Citations

Balliol 354.
Balliol 354. Paper, 11 1/2 x 4. Commonplace book of Richard Hill, who describes himself as ‘seruant with Mr. Wyngar, alderman of London.' John Wyngar, grocer, was alderman in 1493, mayor 1504, and died 1505. Richard Hill married in 1518 Margaret, daughter of Harry Wyngar, haberdasher, 'dwellyng in bowe parishe in London,' and the births of his seven children are recorded in the MS. from 1518 to 1526. The MS. is a miscellany of the widest character, English, French, and Latin, poems, romances, fabliaux, extracts from Gower and Sir Thomas More, receipts, legal notes, London customs, etc. Some pieces, signed by Hill, must be in his own hand ; so probably is most of the MS. The latest date in it is 1535, but part must have been written before 1504. Rimbault, 120, refers apparently to the MS. in 1851, (see notes on CXXXI), and said he intended to print it entire. Chappell (1855-59), 50, notes that this MS. had been 'recently found in the library . . . , where it had been accidentally concealed, behind a bookcase, during a great number of years.' Extracts printed by Flugel, W.L., in 1894; and thence by Pollard, 1903 ; also in Flugel, N.L. Edited, almost complete, with full table of contents, by Flugel in Anglia, xxvi, 94, printing 126 items. Source: Notes, p. 307-308.


Editor's Note:

See also

Balliol Ms. 354 is available on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; see Balliol Ms. 354.

Anglia, xxvi. 279;
Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift Für Englische Philologie. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903),  pp. 94-285.

Flügel, W.L., 83.
Ewald Flügel, "Englische Weihnachtslieder aus einer Handschrift des Balliol College zu Oxford," in Forschungen zur deutschen Philologie: Festgabe fur Rudolf Hildebrand, (Leipzig, 1894), pp. 52-84. Some carols from Balliol Ms. 354 are also found in Ewald Flügel, Neuenglisches Lesebuch (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1895) , pp. 111 ff.

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