We are so hammed, / Over-taxed and rammed, / We are made hand-tammed / By these gentlemen.
There was never since Noah’s flood such weather seen. / …How these snows all drown / The fields and the town / And bear all down, / ‘Tis a wonder!
Ere we go now, I would someone gave us a song.
So I thought, as I stood, to beguile us along.
Let be! I’m a yeoman of the king / And a messenger from a great lordling / …I must have reverence! / Dare you ask, who am I?
Manus tuas commendo / Pontio Pilato.
I am worthy of my meat, / For in a trice I can get / More than they who strive and sweat / All the day long.
Were a worse plight, I’d find a way still.
Oh, my belly! I die! / I vow to God so mild / If ever I you beguiled / Then I will eat this child / That doth in cradle lie!
Sirs, for this deed, take my advice instead / For this trespass. / We will neither curse not fight / Nor dispute our right / We’ll tie him up tight / And toss him in canvas.
Rise, herdsmen, rise, for Christ is born / To rend that fiend that Adam had lorn / The Saviour of all, this night is he born. / His behests / To Bethlehem go see / Where lies this baby / In a crib full poorly / Betwixt two beasts.
Hie we thither right merry / If we be wet and weary / Still, we’ll find the child and lady, / We cannot lose.
Thou hast cowed at last the devil so wild / The false beguiler now goes beguiled.
And now he is born. / To keep you from woe / I shall pray him so, / Tell it forth, as ye go, / And mind on this morn!