The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

There was no deathe nor worldlie joie

A Carroll of Saint Stephen
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words and Music: Traditional English
(From MS. Cotton. Vesp. A. xxv. fol. 138, v0)

Source: Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841)

There was no deathe nor worldlie joie
The faithe of Stephen that culde distroye;
There was no payne nor tormentrie,
Cud judge the vlysse (?) that he did se.

This holy stephen replet with grace,
Did se Godes sonne before his face,
    In joye where he shuld come,
Standing by his powre and might,
Stephen for to succoure in his sight
    Of blodye marterdome.

Steven as a knight before his king,
And all his courte one hym loking,
    Dyd valiently fight;
Before the cowrt of heaven,
Was this conflicte of holy Stephen
    Down lyke a puyzant knight.

Les stephen shuld dowte, beinge a man,
The Sone of God apperyde than,
    As he was crucified,
Hym for to comforthe, helpe, and guyde,
Of deathe shulde be nothinge affraid,
    When stoones of him did glied.

Saincte Jhon Baptist se heven open,
Saincte Paule se thinges not to be spoken,
    Some se Transfigurate;
But Steven se Christ in his glorye,
Praid for his enemies enterelye,
    And thos that dyd him haite.

Before Stephen eies was set the glave,
For his conflicte he shoulde receyve
    A crowne, it did appere;
This crown was wrought in every linke,
No tounge can tell nor hart can thincke,
    Bout those that dothe it were.

This crown to were and to obtain,
The creuell stones that perche his brine
    Was no adversitie;
Trowble, payne, hys lyve to end,
He thowght his blode was righte well spend,
    For this crowne for to die.

Whoe at his bodie keste a stone,
He did forgeve them every one,
    And he that kept there cloosse;
Christe grante this deie that we maie se,,
With Stephen to die in charitie,
    And for-geve all our fosse.


Note: The question mark in the first paragraph was inserted by Mr. Wright.

See: Hymns to St Stephen

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