The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

 This Endes Night I Saw A Sight Bullen

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Ritson's Manuscript, now British Library, Add. MS. 5665.

Music: Not Stated

Source: A. H. Bullen, ed., A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1886), pp. 21-22.

Ah, my dear Son, said Mary, ah, my dear,
Kiss thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer.

1. This endnes 1 night I saw a sight
All in my sleep,
Mary, that may, she sang lullay
And sore did weep ;
To keep she sought full fast about
Her Son from cold.
Joseph said, Wife, my joy, my life,
Say what ye would.
Nothing, my spouse, is in this house
Unto my pay ; 2
My Son a king, that made all thing,
Lieth in hay.
            Ah, my dear Son ! &c.

2. My mother dear, amend your cheer
And now be still ;
Thus for to lie it is soothly
My Father's will.
Derision, great passion,
As it is found many a wound
Suffer shall I ;
On Calvary that is so high
There shall I be,
Man to restore, nailed full sore
Upon a tree.
            Ah, my dear Son ! &c.

Footnotes By Mr. Bullen.

1. Last. Return

2. Content. Return

Note from Bullen at p. 252 concerning "This endnes night," p. 21:

The MS. from which, this piece is taken contains a large collection of church-services, hymns, carols, and songs, with music. It formerly belonged to Joseph Ritson, who presented it to the British Museum. The collection deserves to be printed in full.

Before the text, Mr. Bullen noted:

Printed in Sandys' Christmas Carols from Add. MS. 5165 (ancient songs temp. Henry VII. and VIII.)

Editor's Notes:

There is a typographical error in the head note by Mr. Bullen. It was erroneously printed that Sandy's source was Add. MS 5165, when, in fact, Mr. Sandys identified the source as Add. MS 5465, the Fairfax Manuscript.

Aside from modernized language, the version by Mr. Bullen is word-for-word identical to that given by Mr. Sandys. It would be interesting to compare the appropriate folios from the Fairfax and Ritson manuscripts. The version by Dr. Rickert at pages 62-63 is identical to that by Mr. Bullen, and, thus, that by Mr. Sandys. It is impossible, therefore, to identify Dr. Rickert's source.

Note that this is the second version of this carol. The first is found on pp. 15-18, "The Virgin and Child," citing Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols (Percy Society, 1847).

Editor's Note:

There are numerous carols with a very similar title, and at least five manuscript sources for versions of these two songs, including, but not limited to:

1. Versions from Addit. Ms. 5465, British Library:

2. Versions from Ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1.:

3. Versions from the Advocates Library, Edinburgh:

4. A Version from the Ms. Royal Appx. 58:

5. A Version from the Balliol MS. 354, the Richard Hill Commonplace Book:

6. A Version from Ritson's Manuscript, Add. MS 5665

Because of the similarity of the texts from Add. MS 5465 (Fairfax Ms.) and Add. MS 5665 (Ritson's Ms.), it is impossible to determine the source of Edith Rickert's second version of this carol, This Endernight I Saw A Sight (Burden: "Ah, my dear Son," said Mary, "ah, my dear,), pp. 62-63.

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