William Morris

Masters in This Hall

Masters in this Hall,

Hear ye news today

Brought from over-sea,

And ever I you pray:

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Nowell, sing we clear!

Holpen are all folk on earth,

Born is God's son so dear:

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Nowell, sing we loud!

God today hath poor folk raised

And cast a-down the proud.

Going o'er the hills,

Through the milk-white snow,

Heard I ewes bleat

While the wind did blow:

Shepherds many an one

Sat among the sheep,

No man spake more word

Than they had been asleep:

Quoth I, "Fellows mine,

Why this guise sit ye?

Making but dull cheer,

Shepherds though ye be?

"Shepherds should of right

Leap and dance and sing,

Thus to see ye sit,

Is a right strange thing":

Quoth these fellows then,

"To Bethlem town we go,

To see a mighty lord

Lie in manger low":

"How name ye this lord,

Shepherds?" then said I,

"Very God," they said,

"Come from Heaven high":

Then to Bethlem town

We went two and two,

And in a sorry place

Heard the oxen low:

Therein did we see

A sweet and goodly may

And a fair old man;

Upon the straw she lay:

And a little child

On her arm had she,

"Wot ye who this is?"

Said the hinds to me:

Ox and ass him know,

Kneeling on their knee,

Wondrous joy had I

This little babe to see:

This is Christ the Lord,

Masters be ye glad!

Christmas is come in,

And no folk should be sad.