The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Nowell, Ell, Both Old and Ying

Words: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 28-9.

Rickert gives the title as:
Nowell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell

Compare: Nowel el bothe eld and 3yng - Thomas Wright

Nowell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell, ell

1. Nowell, ell, both old and ying,1
Nowell, ell, now may we sing
In worship of our heaven(ly) King,
    Almighty God in Trinity.

2. Listen, lordings, both lief and dear,
Listen, ladies, with glad cheer,
A song of mirth now may ye hear,
    How Christ our brother He would be.

3. An angel from heaven was sent full snell,2
His name is clepėd Gabriel,
His errant he did full snell,
    He sat on knee and said "Ave."

4. And he said: "Mary, full of grace,
Heaven and earth in even place,
Within the time of little space,
    Reconcilėd it should be."

5. Mary stood still as any stone,
And to the angel she said anon:
"Then heard I never of man (his) moan,
    Methinketh wonder thou sayest to me."

6. The angel answered anon full well:
"Mary dread thee never a deal,
Thou shalt conceive a child full well,
    The Holy Ghost shall shadow thee."

7. Mary on breast her hand she laid,
Still she stood and thus she said:
"Lo! me here, God's own handmaid,
    With heart and will and body free."

8. Mary mother, maiden mild,
For the love all of thy Child,
Fro Hellė pit thou us shield;
    Amen, amen, how singe we.

Notes:

1. Young. Return

2. Quickly. Return

Editor's Note:

Other versions of this carol on this website:

"Listen, Lordings, both leve and dear" (Nowell, -ell, both Old and Young):

There are other carols on this web site with similar first lines or burdens, although they have very separate themes and lyrics, including:

"Listen, Lordings, Both Old and Young"

This Rose is Railed on a Ryse, Text Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 11, from Ms. Selden B 26, folio 9v.

"Listen, Lordings, Both Great and Small" (Burden: A, a, a, a, Nunc gaudet ecclesia):

"Listen, Lordings, Both More and Less" (Burden: Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria)

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