The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Singe We All, For Time It Is

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Hill Ms., Balliol College Ms. 354, Folio 229a.
For His Love That Bought Us All Dear (Rickert)
Synge We All For Tyme It Is (Flügel)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LXXV, p. 139.

Singe we all, for time it is,
Mary hath born the flour-de-lyce.

For his love that bought us all dere,
Listen, lordinges that ben here,
And I will tell you in fere, 5
    Where of cam the flour-de-lyce.

On Cristmas night, whan it was cold,
Our Lady lay amonge bestes bolde,
And there she bare Jesu, Joseph tolde,
    And there of cam the flour-de-lyce. 10

Of that bereth witnesse Seint Johan,
That it was of much renown ;
Baptized he was in Home Jordan,
    And there of cam the flour-de-lyce.

On Good Friday that child was slain, 15
Beten with skorges and all to-flain
That day he suffred muche pain,
    And there of cam the flour-de-lyce.


5. in fere, in company.

13. flome, river.

16. to-flain, flayed to pieces.

Balliol 354. Printed Anglia, xxvi. 260; and Flügel, W.L., 77.

Extended Citations

Anglia, xxvi. 260
Ewald Flügel, ed., “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrichs VIII. III. 6. Die lieder des Balliol Ms. 354,” in Eugen Einenkel, ed., Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Band XXVI. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903), p. 260.

Flugel, W.L., 77.
Ewald Flügel, "Englische Weihnachtslieder aus einer Handschrift des Balliol College zu Oxford." In Forschungen zur deutschen Philologie: Festgabe fur Rudolf Hildebrand, (Leipzig, 1894), p. 77. Texts from Balliol 354.

Balliol 354.
Balliol 354. Paper, 11 1/2 x 4. Commonplace book of Richard Hill, who describes himself as ‘seruant with Mr. Wyngar, alderman of London.' John Wyngar, grocer, was alderman in 1493, mayor 1504, and died 1505. Richard Hill married in 1518 Margaret, daughter of Harry Wyngar, haberdasher, 'dwellyng in bowe parishe in London,' and the births of his seven children are recorded in the MS. from 1518 to 1526. The MS. is a miscellany of the widest character, English, French, and Latin, poems, romances, fabliaux, extracts from Gower and Sir Thomas More, receipts, legal notes, London customs, etc. Some pieces, signed by Hill, must be in his own hand ; so probably is most of the MS. The latest date in it is 1535, but part must have been written before 1504. Rimbault, 120, refers apparently to the MS. in 1851, (see notes on CXXXI), and said he intended to print it entire. Chappell (1855-59), 50, notes that this MS. had been 'recently found in the library . . . , where it had been accidentally concealed, behind a bookcase, during a great number of years.' Extracts printed by Flugel, W.L., in 1894; and thence by Pollard, 1903 ; also in Flugel, N.L. Edited, almost complete, with full table of contents, by Flugel in Anglia, xxvi, 94, printing 126 items. Source: Notes, p. 307-308.


Editor's Note:

See also

Balliol Ms. 354 is available on-line at Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; see Balliol Ms. 354.


Dyboski has the title of this carol as "Christ, The fleur-de-lys," Carol #47, p. 37. It is not found in Weston.

Also found in Eleanor Mabel Valentine Brougham, ed., Corn From Olde Fieldes: An anthology of English Poems From The XIVth To The XVIIth Century (John Lane, 1922), pp. 8-9.

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