The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Outlanders, Whence Come Ye Last?

Words: William Morris (1834-1896), one of 24 poems from The Earthly Paradise; a poem, 6 vols. (London: F. S. Ellis, 1868-70)

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 291-3.

1. Outlanders, whence come ye last?
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
Through what green sea and great have ye passed?
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

2. From far away, O masters mine,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
We come to bear you goodly wine,
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

3. From far away we come to you,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
To tell of great tidings strange and true.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

4. News, news of the Trinity,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
And Mary and Joseph from over the sea!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

5. For as we wandered far and wide,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
What hap do ye deem thee should us betide!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

6. Under a bent when the night was deep,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
There lay three shepherds tending their sheep.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

7. "O ye shepherds, what have ye seen,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
To slay your sorrow and heal your teen?"
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

8. "In an ox-stall this night we saw,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
A babe and a maid without a flaw.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

9. "There was an old man there beside,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
His hair was white and his hood was wide.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

10. "And as we gazed this thing upon,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
Those twain knelt down to the Little One.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

11. "And a marvellous song we straight did hear,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
That slew our sorrow and healed our care."
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

12. News of a fair and a marvellous thing,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the door.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 84-6. Bullen notes "From Mr. William Morris's Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Earthly Paradise, vol. iii)."

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