The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now is the twelthe day i-come

For the Epiphany

Words and Music: English Traditional

Note: Because Middle English contains letters not found in modern English, I've used a special font, "Junicode" created by Professor Peter S. Baker, Professor of English, University of Virginia on some pages.  I will note on the individual carol's page which ones need this font. You can obtain a copy of this font from his website Old English at the University of Virginia (select "Windows TrueType," or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer).  This font must be downloaded and installed before these pages will display accurately.

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (London: Printed by Richards for The Warton Club, 1856), Hymn XXXIX, pp. 49-5ȝ.

Reges de Saba venient,
Aurum, tus, myrram, offerent.

Now is the twelthe day i-come,
The Fader and Sone togeder arn nome,
The Holy Gost, as they wern wone,
                                in fere.
God send us good newe ȝere.

I wil ȝou synge with al myn myȝt,
Of a chyld so fayr in syȝt,
A maydyn hym bar this ender nyȝt,
                                so stylle;
As it was his wylie.

Thre kynges out of Galylie
Kemyn to Bedlem that ceté,
For to takyn in to that se,
                                be nyte ;
It was a ful fayr syte.

As they kem forȝt with here offeryng,
They mette with Herowdes, that mody kyng;
He askycl hem of here comyng,
                                that tyde,
And thus to hem he seyde :

" Fro qwens come ȝe, kynges thre?"
" Out of the est, as thou mayst se,
To sekyn hym that evere xal be,
                                throw ryte,
Lord and kyng of myte."

" Quan ȝe han at that kyng i-be,
Comit ageyn this weye be me,
And tel me the sytes that han so ;
                                I praye,
ȝe gon non other waye."

Of Herowdys, that mody kyng,
He tokyn here leve, of eld and ȝyng ;
And foth they wente with, here offeryng
                                in syȝte,
And ther wey come be nyte.

Quan they comyn into the plas
Ther Jhesu with his moder was,
Thei made offeryng with gret solas,
                                not ferre,
With gold, incens, and myrre.

As they wern hom-ward i-went,
The Fader of hevene an aungyl sent
To tho thre kynges that made present,
                                or daye,
And thus to hem gan saye.

" My Lord haȝt warnyd ȝou of ȝour fon,
Be kyng Herowdes that ȝe not gon ;
For if ȝe don, he wil ȝou slon,
                                and traye ;
ȝe gon another waye."

Quan they comyn hom to here cuntré,
Blythe and glad they wern alle thre
Of the sytes that they had se,
                                be nyte,
Jhesu and Mari bryte.

With tresoun to us gan he sayn,
He trowid Jhesu to han slayn ;
Into Egypt thei went ful playn,
                                be syde ;
Josep was here gyde.

Into Bedlem thei gunne pas,
The sterre gan schynyn in here fas
Brytter than evere schon sunne in glas,
                                in londe,
Jhesu with Mari thei fonde.

Kyng Herowdes he made his vow,
Gret plenté of chylderin he slow,
He wende ther xuld a be Jhesu ;
                                I saye,
He falyid of his praye.

Herowdes was wod in ryalté ;
He slow schylderin ryȝt gret plenté
In Bedlem, that fayre ceté,
                                with stryf ;
Ne left he non on lyf.

The chylderin of Israel cryid "wa, wa!"
The moderis of Bedlem cryid "ba, ba!"
Herowdes low, and seyd, "a ha!
                                that qwede,
The kyng of Juwys is dede."

Almyty God in magesté,
In on God personys thre,
Bryng us to the blysse that is so fre,
                                in fere;
And send us a good newe ȝere.

Reges de Saba venient, aurum, tus, mirra, offere[nt].

Note Concerning Burden:

In the version given by Dr. Rickert, the phrase

Reges de Saba venient,
Aurum, tus myrram offerent

is translated as

    "Kings shall come from Sheba.
    They shall offer gold, frankincense and myrrh."


Versions of this song on this web site:


See note: Now Is Christmas Ycome

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