The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

 What Tidings Bringest Thou?

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.

Compare: What Tidings (Rickert)
What Tythyngis Bryngst Us, Messangere

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

Music: John Dunstable, 1400-1453
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New.
Boston: Parish Choir, 1916, Carol 677

What tidings bringest thou, messenger,
Of Christ His birth this jolly day?

1. A Babe is born of high nature
The Prince of Peace that ever shall be.
Of heav'n and earth He hath the cure,
His lordship is eternity.
Such wondrous tidings ye may hear,
That man is made now heaven's peer,
Whom sin had made but fiendes pray. Refrain

2. A wondrous thing doth now befall,
That King that formed star and sun,
Heaven and earth and angels all,
Now in mankind is new begun.
Such wondrous tidings ye may hear,
A infant of a single year
That hath been e'er and shall be aye. Refrain

3. That seemeth strange to us to see
This berd that hath this babe a-born
And Lord conceived of high degree
A maiden is and was beforn:
Such wondrous tidings ye may hear,
That maid and moth'r are one in fere,
And she a lady of great array. Refrain

4. That lovliest gan greet her Child,
“Hail, son, Hail, Brother, Hail, Father dear.”
“Hail, Daughter,” He saith, “Hail, Mother mild,”
This hailing was on quaint manner.
Such wondrous tidings ye may here,
That hailing was of so good cheer
That mannes pain is turned to play. Refrain

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New.
Boston: Parish Choir, 1916, Carol 677

J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Carols of the Fifteenth Century. London: The Leadenhall Press, E.C., ca. 1891, X.

Carol in Original Form From a 15th Century Manuscript

Carol in Modern Form

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #175, pp. 8-9.

175a-What_Tidings.jpg (111978 bytes) 175b-What_Tidings.jpg (92477 bytes)

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