Als I lay on Yoleis night alone in my longing
me thought I saw a well fair sight, a may hir child roking.
The maiden wold with outen song
hir child o sleep to bring;
the child him thought sche ded him wrong
and bad his moder sing.
‘Sing nou moder’, said the child, ‘wat schal to me befall
heer after wan I cum til eld, for so doon modres all.
Ich a moder, trewely, that kan hir credel keep,
is wun to lulen luvely and sing hir child to sleep.
Sweete moder fair and free, be cause that it is so,
I pray thee that thou lule me and sing sum wat therto.’
‘Sweete sune,’ saide sche, ‘wer offe schuld I sing?
Ne wist I nere yet more of thee but Gabriels greeting.
He grett me goodli on his knee and saide, ‘Hail, Marie!
Hail full of grace, God is with thee;
thou beren schalt Messie.'
I wundred michil in my thought, for manwold I ri3t none.
‘Marie,’ he saide, ‘dred thee nought;
let God of hev’n alone.
The Holi Gost schal doon al this,’ he said with outen wun,
that I schuld beren mannis blis and God is owne sun.
He saide, ‘Thou schalt bere a king in king Davitis see;
in al Jacobes wuning ther loverd schuld he be.’
He saide that Elizabeth, that barain was bifore,
a knave child conceyved hath; to me leeve thou the more.’
I answered blethely, for that his word me paid,
‘Lo, God is servant heer am I; be et as thou me said.’
Ther, als he saide, I thee bare on midewenter night
in maidenhede with outen kare be grace of God almight.
Ther schepperds waked in the wold
thei herd a wunder mirth
of angels ther, as theim thei told the tiding of thi birth.
Sweete sune, sikirly, no more kan I say,
and if I koude, fawn wold I, to doon al at thipay.’
Serteynly this sight I say, this song I herde sing,
als I me lay this Yoleis day a lone in my longing.
As I lay on Christmas night, alone in my longing,
methought I saw a fair sight, a girl rocking her child.
The maiden wanted to put
her child to sleep without singing;
to the child it seemed she wronged him,
and he bade his mother sing.
‘Sing now, mother,’ said the child, ‘what shall befall me
in the future when I grow up, for all mothers do that.
Every mother, truly, who keeps watch over her cradle,
is wont to lull lovingly and sing her child to sleep.
Sweet mother, fair and gracious, since that is so,
I pray you to lull me and to sing something as well.’
‘Sweet son,’ said she, ‘of what should I sing?
I knew nothing more of you than Gabriel’s greeting.
He greeted me kindly on his knee and said, ‘Hail Mary!
Hail, full of grace, God is with thee;
thou shalt bear the Messiah.’
I wondered greatly in my mind, for I had no husband.
‘Mary,’ he said, ‘do not dread;
leave the God of heaven to his ways.
The Holy Ghost shall do all this,’ he said without delay,
that I should bear man’s bliss and God’s own son.
He said, ‘Thou shalt bear a king in King David’s seat;
in all the house of Jacob he should be lord.’
He said that Elizabeth, who had been barren,
has conceived a male child – give me the more credence.’
I answered gladly, for his words pleased me,
‘Lo, I am here, God’s servant; be it as thou hast said.’
There as he said I bore you on Midwinter Night,
in virginity without pain, by grace of almighty God.
Where shepherds were watching in the uplands
they heard a wondrous song
of angels there, as they told them the tidings of your birth.
Sweet son, assuredly I can say no more,
and if I could, I would gladly, to do all you wish.’
Certainly I saw this sight, I heard this song sung,
as I lay on Christmas night alone in my longing.
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