The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

What Tidings?

For Christmas
For the Circumcision of our Lord, Jan. 1

Words: John Audelay, from a MS. Of the 15th Century
Bodleian Library. MS. Douce 302.

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), Page #167

Compare: What Tidings Bringest Thou (From Hutchins, with sheet music)
What Tythyngis Bryngst Us, Messangere

What Tidings Bringest Thou Messenger? (Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols)

"What tidings bringest thou, messenger,
Of Christės birth this jolly day?"

1. A Babe is born of high nature,
The Prince of peace that ever shall be;
Of heaven and earth He hath the cure, [1]
His lordship is eternity.
Such wondrous tidings you may hear,
That man is made now Godės peer,
Whom sin had made but fiendės prey.

2. A wondrous thing doth now befall,
That King that formėd star and sun,
Heaven and earth and angels all,
Now in mankind is new begun,
Such wondrous tidings you may hear,
An infant of a single year,
That hath been ever and shall be aye.

3. That seemeth strange to us to see,
This bird [2] that hath this Babe yborn,
And Lord conceived of high degree
A maiden is and was beforn.
Such wondrous tidings you may hear,
That maiden and mother are one in fere,
And she a lady of great array.

4. That loveliest gan greet her Child:
"Hail, Son! Hail, Brother! Hail, Father dear!"
"Hail, Daughter!" He saith: "Hail, Sister. Hail,
Mother mild!"
This hailing was on quaint manner.
Such wondrous tidings you may hear,
That hailing was of so good cheer,
That man his pain is turned to play.


1. Charge. Return

2. Lady. Return

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