The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

This endurs nyȝt I see a syght

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional from the Advocates' Library Ms. 19. 3. I, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

From a MS. vol. fol. 210 b. lettered on the back "Metrical Romances and Moralizations," 4th, written about the end of the fifteenth century, and preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.

Source: Thomas Wright and James Orchard Halliwell, eds., Reliquiæ Antiquæ. Vol. 2 of 2. (London: John Russell Smith, 1845), p. 76-77.

This carol requires the installation of the "Junicode" fond for best display. You can obtain a copy of this font from Old English at the University of Virginia, or right click here, and then select "Save File As" to save a copy of the zipped file to your computer. See notes in F A Q.

This endurs nyȝt I see a syght,
     A sterre schone bryght as day,
And everymeng a meden song
     was, By, by, lulley!
                         This [endurs nyght.]

1. This lovely lady sete and song,
     and tyll hur chyld con say,
"My son, my lord, my fadur deyr,
     why lyns thou thus in hey?
My none swete bryd, what art thu kyd
     and knowus thi lord of ey?
Never the lesse I will not sesse
 to syng, By, by, lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

2. This chyld ontyll is modur spake,
     and thus me thowght he seyd,
"I am kend for heven kyng,
     in cryb thowght I be leyd;
Angelis bryght schalle to me lyght,
     ȝe wot ryght welle in fey;
Off this be hest, gyffe me ȝowr brest,
     and syng, By, by, lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

3. "My aune der son, to the I say,
     thou art me lefe and dere;
How schuld I serve the to pey
     and plese on all manere ?
All thi wyll I wyll fulfylle,
     thou wottes ryȝt well in fay;
Never the leyse I wyll not sesse,
     to syng, By, by, lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

4. "My dere moder, when tyme it be,
     ȝe tak [me] up on loft,
And sett me ryȝt apon ȝour kne,
     and hondul me full soft;
In ȝour arme ȝe kepe me warme,
     both be nyght and day,
Gyff I wepe and will not slepe,
     to syng, By, by, lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

5. "My aune dere son, sen it is thus,
     that thou art lord of alle,
Thou shuld have ordent the sum bydyng
     in sum kynge halle.
Me thenkus aryght a kyng or a knyght,
     shuld be in rych arey,
And ȝett for this I woll not seysse
     to syng, By and lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght j

6. "My aune der son, to the I say,
     me thynkus it is no laye,
That kyngus shuld com so fer to the,
     and thu not to them deny.
Yow sarwn see the kyngus .iii.
     apon the twelfe day,
And for that syȝt ȝe may be lyght,
     to syng By, by, lollé!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

7."May aune der son, sen it is thus,
     at all thyng is at wyll,
I pray the grant me a bone,
     gyf it be ryght of skylle.
Chyld or man that will or can,
     be mery on this gud day,
To hevun blysse grawnt hit us,
     and syng, By, by, lulley!"
                         This [endurs nyght.]

D.L.

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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