Anglo-Norman Carol

In this carol, "lay" means "song".

"This Carol, we are informed by the antiquaries, is the earliest known to have been written in our island. The thirteenth century is believed to be the period of its composition. The original is in the Anglo-Norman language. Some years ago it was discovered on a blank leaf in the middle of one of the manuscripts in the British Museum. The editor of Christmas with the Poets supposes this Carol to have been one of those in use among the bands of professional minstrels - half vagrants, half troubadours - who wandered from one to the other of the different castles of the Norman nobility, 'discoursing sweet sounds' for the gratification of the assembled guests, and who were certain of a ready welcome on so festive an occasion as the celebration of the Christmas feast. The late Mr. Douce made an English version, inserted in Brand's Antiquities; but the following, from the pen of the editor previously alluded to, is preferred." -A garland of Christmas carols, ancient and modern (1861)

Notes

*Song

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Recited by Sandra Schmit.

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Listen to verses 1, 2, 4 & 6 in the video below...
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Thanks and Acknowledgements

This carol can be found in "A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern" (1861) by John Camden Hotten.

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