Be Mery and Glad This Gude Newyere!

Here’s a medieval New Year’s carol.

What cher? Gud cher! Gud cher! Gud cher!
Be mery and glad this gude Newyere!

“Lyft up your harts and be glad”
In Cryste’s byrth the angel bad;
Say eche to oder, yf any be sad:
What cher? Gud cher! Gud cher! Gud cher!
Be mery and glad this gude Newyere!

Now the kyng of hevyn his byrth hath take,
Joy and myrth we owght to make.
Say eche to oder, for hys sake:
What cher? Gud cher! Gud cher! Gud cher!
Be mery and glad this gude Newyere!

I tell you all with hart so fre,
Ryght welcum ye be to me.
Be glad and mery for charite!
What cher? Gud cher! Gud cher! Gud cher!
Be mery and glad this gude Newyere!

The gudman of this place in fere
You to be mery he prayth you here;
And with gud hert he doth to you say:
What cher? Gud cher! Gud cher! Gud cher!
Be mery and glad this gude Newyere!

(From a manuscript from Balliol College, Oxford, MS.354. Described as ‘Richard Hill of London, commonplace-book in English, Latin and French, including transcripts of late medieval poems and carols, London annals, family memoranda, etc., first third of the 16th century.’ Original here. The Clerk of Oxford has a modernized text here.

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‘Nowell Sing We’

This is beautiful:

 

Here are the lyrics (close enough):

Nowell sing we now all and some,
For Rex pacificus is come.

In Bethlehem, in that fair city,
A child was born of a maiden free,
That shall a lord and prince be,
A solis ortus cardine.

Children were slain in full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of thee;
Wherefore their souls saved be,
Hostis Herodis impie.

As the sun shineth through the glass,
So Jesu in his mother was;
Thee to serve now grant us grace,
O lux beata Trinitas.

Now God is come to worship us;
Now of Mary is born Jesus;
Make we merry amongst us;
Exultet caelum laudibus.

Nowell sing we now all and some,
For Rex pacificus is come.

For background information about this fifteenth century carol and its meaning and story, see this really interesting post by Eleanor Parker, the ‘Clerk of Oxford’.

Siobhan Miller ‘Bonny Light Horseman’

When I introduce this song I usually say “It’s an anti-war song, but the war it’s ‘anti’ is the Napoleonic Wars”. It’s a traditional song that exists in English and Irish versions; I learned it from James Keelaghan, but Siobhan Miller and her boys do a nice job of it here.

 

This is number two in my series of ‘Songs of War and Peace 2017’.

Mystery to Me

This is a new song lyric I wrote tonight. No tune yet, but it’ll come.

Mystery to me
© 2017 by Tim Chesterton

It’s a mystery to me
When people don’t have eyes to see
that wrong’s not right and never can be
It’s a mystery to me

It’s a mystery all right
They take the dark and call it light
They say it’s day when it’s really night
It’s a mystery all right

It’s a mystery all the same
The things they’re saying in Jesus’ name
They should be hanging their heads in shame
It’s a mystery all the same

It’s a mystery indeed
How hate grows up from a poisoned seed
And turns its wrath on the ones in need
It’s a mystery indeed

It’s a mystery to me
Those men of war on a killing spree
When all are dead then no one’s free
It’s a mystery to me

It’s a mystery to me
When people don’t have eyes to see
that wrong’s not right and never can be
It’s a mystery to me

 

Daoirí Farrell: ‘The Creggan White Hare’

I’ve long suspected that the ideal folk festival for me to attend exists in Britain, not in North America. The lineup at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival is proving me right.

For example, here’s Daorí Farrell playing his version of ‘The Creggan White Hare’.

Here’s what the Festival website has to say about him:

A former electrician, who decided to change profession after seeing Christy Moore perform on Irish TV, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoirí (pronounced ‘Derry’) Farrell is being described by some of the biggest names in Irish folk music as one of most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent years, and has delivered the album to prove them right.

Six months after releasing the album ‘True Born Irishman’ Daoirí won two prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 for Best Newcomer, and Best Traditional Track and also performed live at the awards ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Here’s his website.