Child is Born Among Men, A (Honnd by Honnd)
DESCRIPTION: "Honnd by honnd we schulle ous take, And joy and blisse schulle we make....." "A child is broen amoges man, And in that child was no wam [blemish], That child ys God, that child is man...." "Com to Crist, thy peys ys told."
EARLIEST DATE: Not later than the fifteenth century (Bodleian MS. Bodley 26, folio 202 verso)
KEYWORDS: religious Jesus nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Stevick-100MEL 41, "(Hond by Hond we shullen us take)" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: E. K. Chambers, _English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages_, Oxford, 1945, 1947, pp. 80-81 (no title)
Richard Greene, editor, _A Selection of English Carols_, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, #6, p. 59, "(Honnd by honnd we schulle ous take)" (1 text)
Brown/Robbins, _Index of Middle English Verse_, #29
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #20
NOTES [207 words]: This item has never been collected in oral tradition, and perhaps should not be included in the Index. But J. G. Davies, The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (originally published in Britain as A New Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship), Westminster, 1986, p. 148, cites it as one of the earliest carols: "The opening words of one of the earliest surviving burdens (c. 1350) describe the singers joining hands in a ring-dance, 'Honnd by honnd we schulle us take....'"
Similarly Greene, p. 189, who calls it "the earliest Nativity carol yet discovered." Because of irregularities in the form, Greene suspects it is composite.
The only complete copy is that found in Bodley MS. 26, where it is found as part of a sermon. This is the version found on foloi 202v of Bodleian MS Bodley 26. The date is slightly uncertain. Chambers includes it in his chapter "Fifteenth-Century Lyric" but dates the poem itself c. 1350. This is also the date given by Stevick and Greene.
There is a copy of the third verse of the Bodleian text in University of London MS. 657.
Digging around trying to find a facsimile of the text, to try to see the handwriting, I found several "Communitarian" web sites which cited it. Whatever that tells you. - RBW
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