As I Lay Upon a Night

Alma redemptoris mater ("Nourishing mother of the Redeemer")
Has been attributed to John Dunstable (c. 1390-1453)

Alternate Title: As I Lay Upon A Night

(Don't worry; I'm not going Catholic on you. I'm screening carefully for Mary-worship. This might be a little close to the edge for some, though...)
(Also, note the footnotes in this one to explain the middle English.)

1. As I lay upon a night,
my thought was on a burd(1) so bright
that men clepn(2) Mary, full of might,
redemptoris mater.

2. To her came Gabriel with light
And said: Hail be thou, blissful wight!3
To ben cleped4 now art thou dight5
redemptoris mater.

3. At that word that lady bright
Anon6 conceived God full of might;
Then men wist7 well that she hight8
redemptoris mater.

4. When Jesu on the rood9 was pight,10
Mary was doleful of that sight
Till she see him rise upright,
redemptoris mater.

5. Jesu that sittest in heaven light,
Grant us to comen beforn thy sight
With that burde that is so bright,
redemptoris mater.

1. burd = maiden
2. clepn = call
3. wight = person
4. cleped = called
5. dight = appointed
6. anon = straightway
7. wist = knew
8. hight = named
9. rood = cross or crucifix
10. pight = pitched

1 comment:

  1. Big Dunstable fan here - nice to read the carols. Advent and Christmas avail us of the opportunity to sing Medieval and Renaissance hymns. More the better!