Christmas in Coventry, England, c. 1200

Neither in halls nor yet in bowers,
Born would he not be,
Neither in castles nor yet in towers
That seemly were to see;
But at his Father’s will,
The prophecy to fulfill,
Betwixt an ox and an ass
Jesus, this king, born he was.
Heaven he bring us till!
~Coventry Mystery Play, c.1200. Taken from The Christian Almanac, compiled by George Grant and Gregory Wilbur.

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
~Coventry Carol, c.1500, commemorating The Massacre of the Innocents ordered by Herod the Great and told about in Matthew 2:16-18.

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