Hoping It Might Be So


OUT of youre slepe arise and wake,
For God mankind now hathe itake
All of a maide without any make.
Of all women she berethe the belle.

That ever was thralle, now is he free;
That ever was smalle, now grete is she;
Now shall God deme bothe thee and me
Unto his blisse, if we do well.

And throwe a maide faire and wis
Now man is made of full grete pris;
Now angeles knelen to manes servis;
And on this day al this bifel

Now man may to heven wende;
Now heven and erthe to him they bende;
He that was fo now is oure frende.
This is no nay that I you telle.

Anonymous 15th century.  


I SING the birth, was borne to night,
The Author both of Life, and light;
The Angels so did sound it.
And like the ravish'd Sheep'erds sayed,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet search'de, and true they found it.

The Sonne of God, th' Eternall King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soule from danger;
Hee whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven, and earth did make;
Was now laid in a Manger.

The Fathers wisedome will'd it so,
The Sonnes obedience know no No,
Both wills were in one stature;
and as that wisedome had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on him our Nature.

What comfort by him do we win,
Who made himself the price of sin,
   To make us heirs of glory!
To see this babe, all innocence;
A martyr born in our defence:
   Can man forget the story?

Ben Jonson (1572-1637)


ADAM lay i-bowndyn,
bowndyn in a bond,
Fowre thowsand wynter
thowt he not to long
And al was for an appil,
an appil that he tok.
As clerkes fyndyn wretyn
in here book.
Ne hadde the appil take ben,
Ne hadde never our lady
a ben hevene quen.
Blyssid be the tyme
that appil take was!
Therefore we mown syngyn
Deo gracias!

Anonymous ca 1400 


Ah Sally
Sit thou on I knee
Kiss I under the mistletoe
And I shall find a fine fat goose for thee.
Ah Sally
Give I to eat of thy fine red apples
And thou shall see
What thou shall see.

Traditional Hampshire Carol


Hodie Christus natus est 
hodie Salvator apparuit: 
hodie in terra canunt Angeli, 
laetantur Archangeli: 
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes: 
Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluja.

I SAW a fair maiden, sitten and singe,
Sche lulled a litel child, a swete lording.

Lullay, mine Liking, my dere sone, mine sweting,
Lullay, my dere herte, mine own dere derling.

That eche lord is that that made alle thinge;
Of alle lordes he is Lord, of alle Kinges king.

There was mekel melody at that childes berthe;
Alle tho wern in hevene bliss, they made mekel merthe.

Aungele bright they song that night, and seiden to that child,
"Blessed be thou, and so be sche that is bothe meke and mild."

Anonymous ca 1400


WHY—do they shut Me out of Heaven?
Did I sing—too loud?
But—I can say a little "Minor"
Timid as a Bird!

Wouldn't the Angels try me—
Just—see—if I troubled them—
But don't—shut the door!

Oh, if I—were the Gentleman
In the "White Robe"—
And they—were the little Hand—that knocked—

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)


The Oxen

CHRISTMAS Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so. 

Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)


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