When Christ Was Born of Mary Fre

Original Text: 
British Library Manuscript Harley 5396, for which see A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts (London: G. Eyre and A. Strahan, 1808-1812). Z 6621 .B85 H3 1808 Institute of Medieval Studies Library
2    In excelsis gloria.
5Angellis songen with myrth and gle:
6      In excelsis gloria.
7  Herdmen beheld thes angellis bryght,
8To hem apperyd wyth gret lyght,
9And seyd: "Goddys Sone is born this nyght;
10      In excelsis gloria."
12In the Scriptur as we fynde;
13Therfore this song have we in mynde:
14      In excelsis gloria.
15  Then, Lord, for thy gret grace,
16Graunt us in blys to se thy face,
18      In excelsis gloria.


1] Carol refrains are often in Latin and there is sometimes a sprinkling of Latin phrases, the authors being usually clerics. This refrain means: "Let us prepare a song for Christ, `glory in the highest.'" Back to Line
3] fre: noble. Back to Line
4] Bedlem: Bethlehem. Back to Line
11] Carols usually contain some brief and simple statement of doctrine such as this.
comyn: come.
kynde: mankind. Back to Line
17] solas: joy, delight. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Sandys, Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (1833).
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.3; RPO 1996-2000.