Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Now Let Us Sing and Merry Be

James Ryman, poem CXVII, in J. Zupitza, "Die Gedichte des Franziskaners Jacob Ryman," Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen and Litteraturen 89 (1892) 167-338 (at 292-293):
Nowe lete us syng and mery be,
For Crist, oure kyng, hath made us fre.

Now forto syng I holde it best
And lete alle care and sorowe goo,
For Crist, oure kyng, nowe in þis fest
Was born to bryng us owte of woo.

Thatte blessyd chyld tok flesshe and bloode
By vertu of the holigost
Of Mary myld, thatte meyde so goode,
To saue mankynde, the whiche was lost.

When he was born of thatte myld meyde,
Thatt blessyd lord and heuen kyng,
As long beforn prophetys hadde seyde,
With on accorde angellis didde syng.

The angellis than seide: 'Ioy mot be
To god a-boue in heuen blys
And peas to man, for alle thatte he
Hath offendid and done a mys.'

The shepherdis than kepyng there folde
Hurd fulle sweete songe and sawe grete liȝt,
When god and man, as prophetis told,
Was mekely born vppon thatte nyght.

Syth man ys take ayen to grace
And brought ayen to ioye and blys,
Lete us alle make myrþe and solace
And lete us thanke oure lorde of thys.
In modern spelling:
Now let us sing and merry be,
For Christ, our king, hath made us free.

Now for to sing I hold it best
And let all care and sorrow go,
For Christ, our king, now in this feast
Was born to bring us out of woe.

That blessed child took flesh and blood
By virtue of the Holy Ghost
Of Mary mild, that maid so good,
To save mankind, the which was lost.

When he was born of that mild maid,
That blessed lord and heaven king,
As long before prophets had said,
With one accord angels did sing.

The angels then said: 'Joy must be
To God above in heaven bliss
And peace to man, for all that he
Hath offended and done amiss.'

The shepherds then keeping their fold
Heard full sweet song and saw great light,
When God and man, as prophets told,
Was meekly born upon that night.

Since man is taken again to grace
And brought again to joy and bliss,
Let us all make mirth and solace
And let us thank our Lord of this.

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