Monday 6 December 2010

Myn Lyking

So I know it's only the second week of Advent and it's a bit early for Christmas music, but this is too beautiful to resist:

This is Gustav Holst's setting of 'Lullay, Myn Lyking'. The carol survives in the precious 15th-century manuscript Sloane 2593, which contains many of the best medieval lyrics and carols, including 'Adam lay ybounden', 'I syng of a mayden', 'A babe is born all of a may' and a particularly special Robin Hood ballad.

Here's the carol in Middle English:

Refrain: Lullay, myn lykyng, my dere sone, myn swetyng,
Lullay, my dere herte, myn owyn dere derlyng.

I saw a fayr maydyn syttyn and synge,
Sche lullyd a lytyl chyld, a swete lordyng.

That eche lord is he that made alle thinge,
Of alle lordis he is lord, of alle kynges kyng.

Ther was mekyl melody at that chyldes berthe,
Alle tho wern in hevene blys thei made mekyl merthe.

Aungelebryt thei song that nyt and seydyn to that chyld,
"Blyssid be thou, and so be sche that is bothe mek and myld".

Prey we now to that chyld, and to his moder dere,
Grawnt hem his blyssyng that now makyn chere.

Lullay, myn lykyng, my dere sone, myn swetyng,
Lullay, my dere herte, myn owyn dere derlyng.

The three endearments lykyng, swetyng and derling all essentially mean 'dear little one''; lykyng means something like 'the thing which is pleasing to me', and so myn lykyng is 'the one I delight in, the one who gives me pleasure'.

A translation:

Lullay, my lovely, my dear son, my sweet one,
Lullay, my dear heart, my own dear darling.

I saw a fair maiden sitting and singing,
She lulled a little child, a sweet little lord.

He is the same Lord who made all things,
Of all lords he is Lord, of all kings King.

There was much melody at that child's birth,
All those who were in heavenly bliss made great rejoicing.

Angels bright sang that night and said to that child,
"Blessed be thou, and so be she who is both meek and mild".

Let us pray now to that child, and to his mother dear,
May he grant his blessing to those who are now celebrating.

1 comment:

bbrown said...

This is my number one favorite Christmas song!

Some others........

Joys Seven:
I Saw Three Ships:
Guillo Come:
Suo Gan:
Miserere Mei Deus:

Actually, here's my whole list, with me playing some solo guitar versions......