Friday 28 December 2012

Twelve Days of Carols, 3: 'Come kiss thy mother, dear'

In honour of Christ's birth
Sing we all with joy and mirth.

In this time of Christmas,
Betwixt an ox and an ass,
A maiden delivered was
Of Christ, her dear Son dear.

The husband of Mary,
Saint Joseph, stood her by
And said he was ready
To serve her if need were.

When she did her dear Son see,
She set him on her knee
And sang, 'Hither, to me -
Come kiss thy mother, dear.'

On her lap she him laid,
And with her breast he played,
And ever sang the maid,
'Come kiss thy mother, dear.'

With lips touching his
His mouth oft she did kiss
And said, 'Sweetheart mine,
I pray you, make good cheer!'

To this child let us pray
That born was on this day
Of Mary, the mild may,
To grant us all good cheer.

This is a carol from the middle of the sixteenth century, from an early printed book called 'Christmas carolles newly imprinted'. It doesn't have any music in the book, nor do I know if it's been set by any modern composer, so here's a roughly contemporary piece on the same subject, Richard Pygott's 'Quid petis, O fili':

And the unmodernised carol:

In the honour of Christes byrth
Syng we al with joye and myrthe.

In thys tyme of Chrystmas,
Bytwyxte an oxe and an asse,
A mayden delyuered was
Of Christ, her dere Son dere.

The husbande of Mary,
[Saint] Joseph, stoode her by
And sayde he was ready
To serue her if nede were.

When she her deare Sonne se,
She set him on her kne
And song, 'Hydder to me -
Cum basse thy mother, deare.’

On her lap she him layde,
And with her pappe he playde,
And euer sang the mayde,
‘Come basse thy mother, dere.’

With lyppes collyng [his]
His mouth ofte she dyd kysse
And sayd, ‘Sweetehert myne,
I pray you, make good chere.’

To thys chylde let vs pray
That borne was on this day
Of Mary, the mylde may,
To graunt vs all good chere.

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