Nowel, This Is The Salutation
Salutation Carol of the Angel Gabriel
Based on Luke 1:26-38,
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Words and Music from
the Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS. Eng. Poet. e. I., ff41v
Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #184, pp. 26-27.
Nowel, Nowel, Nowel,
This is the salutation of the Angel Gabriel.
1. Tidings true
there be come new,
Sent from the Trinity
By Gabriel to Nazareth,
City of Galilee.
A clean maiden, a pure virgin,
Through her humility
Hath (now) conceived the Person
Second in Deity.
2. When that he
Before her fair visàge,
In most demure and goodly wise
He did to her homàge;
And said, “Lady, from heaven so high.
That Lordès heritage,
For he of thee now born will be,
I'm sent on his messàge.
The meek'st that ever was!
Hail, temple of the Deity!
Hail, mirror of all grace!
Hail, Virgin pure! I thee ensure,
Within a little space
Thou shalt conceive, and Him receive
That shall bring great solace.
4. Then bespoke the
And answered womanly,
“Whate'er my Lord commandeth me
I will obey truly.”
With “Ecce sum humillima
Secundum verbum tuum,”
She said, “Fiat mihi.”
Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #184, pp. 26-27.
Notes From Rev. Terry:
1, 2, & 3. These final notes (of their respective lines) are of different lengths in the MS. This destroys the symmetry of the melody. I have therefore treated them as copyist's errors and made them all of equal length.
Ecce sum &c. = “Behold I am the humblest handmaid of the Lord. According to thy word” she said, “be it done unto me.
There is only one verse in the Selden MS. The remainder of the words are from various sources.
[Editor's Note: This note is a bit confusing since Terry gives his source as the "MS. Eng. poet. e. 1" from the Bodleian Library. There is a version in the Selden manuscript; see below.]
Sheet Music from Sir Richard Runciman Terry, A Medieval Carol Book: The Melodies Chiefly from MMS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1932), Carol #15, pp. 30-31.
Note from Editor:
Verses 2, 3, & 4 are identical to Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., 1913), Carol #25, The Salutation Carol.
Versions of this carol on this site:
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel (Richard R. Chope, 1894, source unknown)
Nowel, This Is The Salutation (Richard R. Terry, ca. 1923, from MS. Eng. poet. e. 1) [This Page]
Nowell, Nowell (Thomas Wright, Song #65, 1847, from MS. Eng. poet. e. 1)
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell (Thomas Wright, Song #56a, 1847, from MS. Eng. poet. e. 1)
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell (Edith Rickert, 1914, from the Selden MS)
The Salutation Carol (Shaw and Dearmer, 1913, from the Selden MS)
Tidings True, Come Glad And New (Edmund Sedding, from MS. Eng. poet. e. 1, 1863)
Tidinges, Tidinges That Be True (Chambers and Sidgwick, 1907 from the Landsdowne MS 379)
Tidings True Be Come Anew (Weston, 1911, from the Balliol MS 354 / Richard Hill Commonplace Book)
Richard L. Greene gives us 24 Carols of the Annunciation in his The Early English Carols (Oxford, 1935), #234-#257, pp. 166-184.
The manuscript "MS. Eng. poet. e. 1." was the source manuscript for Thomas Wright's Songs and Carols Now First Printed From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century; it is now in the Bodleian Library.
See in the Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. poet. e. 1 (scroll down to get to "e. 1"), c. 1460-1480. There is a single image, fol. 41v, described as "Musical notation in a minstrel's manuscript; the text begins "Nowell, nowell, nowell, pis is pe salutacyon of pe angel gabryell" with "Bryng us in good ale" in lower margin, c. 1460-90; anglicana script." It doesn't appear that the entire volume has been scanned, or, if so, that it is readily available for viewing.
If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.