What are the lyrics to the ‘Coventry Carol’?

Here are the lyrics to the ancient Christmas carol, the 'Coventry Carol'

What are the lyrics to the ‘Coventry Carol’?

When was the ‘Coventry Carol’ written?

The Coventry Carol dates back to around the 15th century or even earlier, and, as the name suggests, was traditionally performed in Coventry, as part of the nativity play, The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The first known publication of the carol dates to 1534 when it was edited by Robert Croo.

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What’s the story behind the ‘Coventry Carol’?

In the play the carol is sung by three women from Bethlehem, just after an angel advises Joseph to flee to Egypt with his family.

Who composed the music for the ‘Coventry Carol’?

Thomas Mawdyke first published  music to the carol in 1591, but it is unknown whether he actually composed the tune or not

What are the lyrics to the ‘Coventry Carol’

Lully, lullah, thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lully, 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 sing,
“Bye bye, lully, lullay”?

Herod the king, in his raging,
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might in his own sight
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor child, for thee
And ever mourn and may
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
“Bye bye, lully, lullay.”

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You can find more lyrics to some of your favourite Christmas carols here