The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Minstrels And Maids

Words: William Morris

Source: Christmas: Its Origin, Celebration and Significance as Related in Prose and Verse - Robert Haven Schauffler (1907)

Outlanders, whence come ye last?
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
Through what green seas and great have ye past?
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

From far away, O masters mine,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
We come to bear you goodly wine,
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

From far away we come to you,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
To tell of great tidings strange and true,
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

News, news of the Trinity,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
And Mary and Joseph from over the sea!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

For as we wandered far and wide,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
What hap do you deem there should us betide!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

Under a bent when the night was deep,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
There lay three shepherds tending their sheep.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

"O ye shepherds, what have ye seen,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
To slay your sorrow, and heal your teen?"
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

"In an ox-stall this night we saw,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
A babe and a maid without a flaw.
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

"There was an old man there beside,
The snow in the street and the wind on the door
His hair was white and his hood was wide.
Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

"And as we gazed this thing upon,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
Those twain knelt down to the Little One,
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

"And a marvellous song we straight did hear,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
That slew our sorrow and healed our care."
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

News of a fair and marvellous thing,
    The snow in the street and the wind on the door
Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing!
    Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor

Also found under the title "Carol" in Anne Thaxter Eaton, ed., Welcome Christmas! A Garland Of Poems. New York: The Viking Press, 1955.

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