The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

To The Now Cristis Dere Derlyng

For St. John the Evangelist

Words: English Traditional from Trinity College O.3.58 (1230), Cambridge UK
Middle English Version
For modern text, see: To Thee Now, Christës Dear Darling

Music: "Prey for us the prynce of pees"

Source: J. A. Fuller Maitland, ed., English Carols of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891), pp. 24-25.

Prey for us the prynce of pees.
amice christi Johannes

1. To the now cristis dere derlyng
that were a mayden bothe eld & zyng.
Myn herte is set to the to syng.
    amice christi Johannes.

2. For thou were so clene a may
The preuytes of heuene forsothe thou say
Qwan on crystys brest thou lay.
    Amice Christi Johannes.

3. Qwan cryst beforn pylat was browth.
Thou clene maydyn forsok hym nouth.
To deye wyth hym was al thy throwth,
    Amice Christi Johannes.

4. Crystys moder was the he take.
a maydyn to be a maydenys make
Thou be oure helpe we be not forsake.
    Amice Christi Johannes.

Sheet Music from J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century. (London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891), Carol #XII.

Carol in Original Form From a 15th Century Manuscript, pp. 24-25.

Carol in Modern Form, pp. 52-53.

Editor's Note

The feast day of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, occurs on December 27, within the traditional 12 days of Christmas. For more information, see Hymns To St. John The Evangelist.

Fuller Maitland translates Amice Christi Johannes as John, Friend of Christ.

This remarkable carol occurs in at least six manuscripts, among the largest number of manuscripts that any carol is represented in. This version, of course, is from the Richard Hill Common-place Book, Balliol Ms. 354. The full list of manuscripts, according to DIMEV, To thee now Christs dear darling, plus versions found on this website, is:

1. Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. e.1 (SC 29734), f. 40

2. Oxford, Balliol College Ms. 354

3. Cambridge UK, Trinity College O.3.58 (1230)

4. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 37v-38

5. London, British Library Addit. 5665, ff. 48v-49

6. London, British Library Harley 4294, f. 81v1

There are additional versions from these manuscripts in volumes that are under copyright.

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