The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now ys Crystemas y-cum

Words: English Traditional
Wright's Carols (Harln. MS., 541, Temp. Hen. 7)

William Sandys, Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music (London: John Russell Smith, 1852), pp. 220-2.

See: The Three Kings / I Would Now Sing For

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See notes in F A Q

1. Now ys Crystemas y-cum,
Fadyr and Son togedyr in oon,
Holy Goste, as ye be oon,
    in fere-a,
God send us a good n(e)w yere-a.

2. I wolde yow synge for and I mygȝhgt,
Off a chylde ys fayre in syghgȝt,
Hys modyr hym bae thys yndyrs nyghȝt
    so stylle-a,
And as yt was hys wylle-a.

3. There came iij kynges fro Galylee
Into Bethleem, that fayre cytee,
To seke hym that ever shulde be
    by rhghȝt-a
Lorde and kynge and knyghȝt-a.

4. As they cam forth with their offrynge,
They met with Herode that mody kynge,
[Omitted line]
    thus tyde-a,
And thus to them he sayde-a.

5. "Off wens be ye, yow kynges iij.?
Off the Este, as ye may see,
To seke hym that ever shulde be
    by ryghgȝt-a
Lorde and kynge and knyghȝt-a."

6. "Wen yow at thys chylde have be,
Cum home aȝeyne by me,
Tell me the syghȝtes that yow have see,
    I praye yow;
Go yow no nodyr way-a."

7. They toke her leve both olde and yonge
Off Herode that mody kynge;
They went forth there offrynge
    by lyghȝth-a.
By the sterre that shoone so bryghȝt-a.

8. Tyll they cam in to the place
There Jhesu and hys modyr was,
Offryd they up with grete solace
    in fere-a.
Golde and sense and nyrre-a.

9. The fadyr of hevyn an awngylle down sent,
To thyke ijj kynges that made presente
    thys tyde-a,
And thys to them he sayd-a.

10. "My lorde have warnyd yow everychone,
By Herode kynge yow go not home;
For and yow do, he wylle you slone
    and strye-a,
And hurte yow wondyrly-a."

11. Forthe them wente thys kynges iij,
Tylle they cam home to their cyntre
Glade and blyth they were alle iij,
Off the syghȝtes that they had see,
The cumpany was clene-a.

12. Knele we now here a-down,
Pray we in good devocioun
To the kynge of grete renown,
    of grace-a,
In hevyn to have a place-a.

Editor's Note:

The omitted third line in the fourth verse also occurs in Rickert and in Richard Leighton Greene, ed., The Early English Carols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), #125C. Dearmer, Vaughan-Williams, and Shaw, The Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928), #173, gives: "He asked them of their coming", following Sidgwick, Ancient Carols, 1908. The tune given in OBC was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The additional line in the 11th verse is also found in Rickert and Greene. OBC does not contain the verse.


Versions of this song on this web site:

See note: Now Is Christmas Ycome


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