• Calendar,  Music

    Adam Lay Ybounden

    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, the appil taken ben, Ne hadde never our lady a ben hevene quen. Blyssid be the tyme that appil take was! Therefore we mown syngyn Deo gratias! This Middle English carol is from the British Library’s manuscript Sloane 2593, ff.10v-11, c. 1400, so the carol is roughly contemporaneous with Chaucer, though it’s not in Chaucer’s London dialect of Middle English. The thematic core of the carol is the idea that if…

  • Calendar

    Christmas Round Up

    I started Scéla (this blog) in 2002. I’ve had at least one Christmas-related post almost every year since then. Here they all are: Christmas Eve, 2004 I posted the Christmas story in Old English from Matthew 2, c. 995, taken from Joseph Bosworth, The Gothic and Anglo-Saxon Gospels in Parallel Columns. Christmas 2004, I posted “Ryse, hyrd-men heynd” from the Second Shepherd’s Play/ Secunda Pastorum by the Wakefield Master. Christmas 2006 I posted Luke 2:1 in Gothic. Christmas Eve 2007 I posted an English version of a Flemish carol about “The Angel Gabriel”. Christmas Eve 2008 I posted Luke 1:26–2:24. On Christmas Eve of 2009 I posted another in a series of…

  • Calendar,  Etymons

    Christmas and Xmas

    I noticed an online acquaintance the other day becoming extremely agitated that someone had referred to Christmas using the colloquialism Xmas. She felt that this was insulting, and offensive in the extreme. What she didn’t realize was that Xmas as a shortened form for Christmas has a venerable (and solidly Christian) history. The word Christmas is a compound of Christ + mass; we see it first in Old English in the form Cristes mæsse in 1038, according to the OED. The Old English form eventually evolved to the Middle English Christemasse. The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed,” a literal translation of the Hebrew cognate of messiah. Mass, as in the Christian ritual, derives from Middle English masse,…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts,  Music

    The Cherry-Tree Carol

    The Cherry-tree Carol: O then bespoke Mary, so meek and so mild: “Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, for I am with child.” O then bespoke Joseph, with words most unkind: “Let him pluck thee a cherry that brought thee with child.” The Cherry-tree Carol appears to have first been collected in Britain in the seventeenth century. Francis James Child printed three versions, calling the song “The Cherry-Tree Carol,” and publishing it as Child Ballad 54. It was collected previously, and subsequently, in versions from all over the British isles, and from America’s Appalachia region, where Jean Ritchie popularized the Cherry-tree Carol, in a version memorialized by Joan Baez and others.…

  • Calendar,  Music

    The Wexford Carol / Carúl Loch Garman

    Carúl Loch Garman O tagaigí is adhraigí An leanbh cneasta sa chró ‘na luí Is cuimhnigí ar ghrá an Rí A thug dar saoradh anocht an naí A Mhuire Mháthair i bParas Dé Ar chlann bhocht Eabha Guí anois go séimh Is doras an chró ná dún go deo G n-adhraím feasta Mac Rí na hÓighe I mBeithil thoir i lár na hoíche Ba chlos an dea-scéal d’aoirí Go follas don tsaol san spéir go binn Bhí aingil ag canadh ó rinn go rinn Gluaisigí go beo, duirt aingil Dé Go Beithil sall is gheobhaith sibh é ‘Na luí go ciúin i mainséar tuí Siúd é an Prionsa, Mac Óg…

  • Calendar

    Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse

    3 37. Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse 38. Wiþ mony luflych lorde, ledeȝ of þe best, 39. Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich breþer, 40. Wiþ rych reuel oryȝt and rechles merþes. 41. Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony, 42. Justed ful jolile þise gentyle kniȝtes, 43. Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make. 44. For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes, 45. Wiþ alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse; 46. Such glaum ande gle glorious to here, 47. Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on nyȝtes, 48. Al watz hap vpon heȝe in hallez and chambrez 49. Wiþ…

  • Calendar

    Gaudete, Gaudete

    Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus Ex Maria virgine, Gaudete! Tempus adest gratiæ Hoc quod optabamus, Carmina lætitiæ Devote reddamus. Deus homo factus est Natura mirante, Mundus renovatus est A Christo regnante. Ezechielis porta Clausa pertransitur, Unde lux est orta Salus invenitur. Ergo nostra contio Psallat lam in lustro; Benedicat Domino: Salus Regi nostro. Anonymous, printed 1582

  • Literature

    Luke from Wycliffe

    26 But in the sixte moneth the aungel Gabriel was sent fro God in to a citee of Galilee, whos name was Nazareth, 27 to a maidyn, weddid to a man, whos name was Joseph, of the hous of Dauid; and the name of the maidun was Marie. 28 And the aungel entride to hir, and seide, Heil, ful of grace; the Lord be with thee; blessid be thou among wymmen. 29 And whanne sche hadde herd, sche was troublid in his word, and thouyte what maner salutacioun this was. 30 And the aungel seide to hir, Ne drede thou not, Marie, for thou hast foundun grace anentis God. 31…

  • Calendar

    Merry Christmas!

    The angel Gabriel from heaven came, his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame; “All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favored lady,” Gloria! “For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honor thee, thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold, most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

  • Uncategorized

    Luke 2:1 in Gothic

    Warth than in dagans jainans. urrann gagrefts fram kaisara Agustau gameljan allana midjungard. soh than gilstrameleins frumista warth at wisandin kindina Swriais raginondin Saurim Kwreinaiau. jah iddjedun allai ei melidai weseina. hwarjizuh in seinai baurg. urrann than jah Iosef us Galeilaia. us baurg Nazaraith in Iudaian. in baurg Daweidis sei haitada Bethlaihaim duthe ei was us garda fadreinais Daweidis. anameljan mith Mariin. sei in fragiftim was imma qeins. wisandein inkilthon. warth than miththanei. tho wesun jainar. usfullnodedun dagos du bairan izai jah gabar sunu seinana thana frumabaur. jah biwand ina jah galagida ina in uzetin. unte ni was im rumis in stada thamma. Via Jim Marchand, medievalist extraordinaire. Technorati Tags:xmas