The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now Ys The Twelthe Day Cum

For the Epiphany

Words and Music: Traditional English

See: The Three Kings / I Would Now Sing For

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #43, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" font for best display.
See notes in

Now ys the twelthe day cum,
The fadyr and the son togeder is won,
The holy gost his wyth them num
            In fere:
        God sent us gud neu ere.

I wold 3ow syng, and I myth,
Of a chyld so fayyr in syth,
A maydyn bar on Cristmes nyth,
            So styll,
        As it was hys wyll.

iij. kyngges com fro Galely,
Tho Bedlem, that fayer sety,
For to ofer and se,
            Be nyth;
        It was a wol fayre syth.

As thei 3edyn with her offeryng,
Thei met Herowd, that mody kyng;
He askyd hem of her comyng,
            Tyat tym,
        And thus to them gun say.

For wense cum 3e, now, kyngges iij.?
Out of the est of 3e may se,
For sekyng that ever xal be,
            Thowre ryth,
        Lord, kyng, and knyth.

Qwan 3e have at that chyld be,
Cum ageyn this wey be me,
And tell me as 3e have see,
            I pray,
        Go not another way.

Of Harowd, that mody kyng,
Thei toke her leve both held and 3yng,
And for thi 3edyn with her offeryng
            Be nyth,
        The stere 3af them lyth.

Qwan thei com to that blysful place,
Jhesu with hys modyr was;
Ther thei offeryd with gret solas,
            In fere,
            God, sense, and mere.

Qwan thei had her offeryng mad,
As the holy gost hem bad,
Then wer thei both mery and glad,
            And lyth;
        It was a wel fayr syth.

Anon as thei awey went,
The fathyr of hevun an aungell sent
To the kyngges that made present,
            Or day,
        And thys tyl hem he sey.

My lord warnyd 3ow everychon,
That 3e not be Harowd gon;
For yf ye don, he wol 3ow sclon,
            And strow,
        And do 3ow mekyll woo.

Thei 3edyn all anodyr wey,
Thorow the myth of Goddes lay,
As the angel tyl hem gan say
            Fol tyth;
        It was a wol fayre syth.

Qwan thei were cum into hyr cuntre,
Mery and glad then wer thei,
For the syth that thei had se,
            Be nyth;
        For as thei cam be lyth.

Prey we al with gud devocioun,
To that lord of gret renow,
And of owre synnys we ask remyssion,
            And grace
        In hevne to have a place.

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

Note from Wright:

Another copy of this carol, but very considerable variations, is found in the Sloane MS. [2563], fol. 17, r0. Some stanzas are omitted in that copy, and others altered, and after l. 13, on p. 48 [For as thei cam be lyth.], the carol there goes on to the conclusion thus,-

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

Into Bedlem thai gunne pas;
The sterre gan schynyn in her fas
Brytter than ever schlon sunne in glas;
            In londe,
        Jhesu with Mari thai fonde.

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

Herowdes was wod in ryalte,
He slow schylderin ryght gret plente,
In Bedlem that fayre cete
            With stryf;
        Ne left he non on lyf.

The chyldren 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 mageste,
In o god personys thre,
Bryng us to the blysse that is so fre
            In fere,
        And send us a good newe yere.

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.

Related Hymns and Carols