The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

This Day

Alternate Title: "An Heavenly Song."

For Christmas

About 1450

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), Page #172

Music: This Day, Dianna Robin Dennis,1 Copyright 2005
All Rights Reserved
Reproduced With Permission

An heavenly song, I dare well say,
Is sung on earth to man this day.

1. This is the song that ye shall hear,
God is come from His empire,
And is made man with high desire,
This day.

2. He took our kind all of a maid,
By ox and ass He was y-laid.
Now is fulfilled that Scripture said,
This day.

3. Ay I wonder this in my mind,
That He that all may loose and bind,
Would be laid by beasts unkind,
This day.

4. He is a lord and by nature
A maiden's breast He sucked full pure.
Heaven and earth be in His cure,2
This day.


1. Dianna Robin Dennis, an Irish author and composer, wrote that the music which she composed is "really more an anthem than a carol per se (three part trebles plus solo)." Return

2. Rev. Terry, in a Medieval Carol Book, has: "Heavn and earth are in His cure ".  Return.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #173, pp. 4-5.

173a-An_Heavenly_Song.jpg (99014 bytes) 173b-An_Heavenly_Song.jpg (67768 bytes)

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 #2, pp. 4-5.

AMCB17.jpg (574153 bytes) AMCB18.jpg (406240 bytes)


Editor's Notes

Also found in Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #173, pp. 4-5. Third verse from Terry:

I wonder aye this in my mind;
That He who all may loose and bind
Would be laid by beastès unkind,
This day.

Notes from Rev. Terry:

Editor's Note:

Rev. Terry also notes that the words and melody are from the Selden MS. (Selden MS. B.26 f. 23v.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Mode II.

The Selden Manuscript was one of the sources for A Medieval Carol Book by Rev. Terry. Scans of the manuscript pages are on-line at the Bodleian Library; see Selden MS B26 (opens in a new window at an exterior site).

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