Our American Holidays - Christmas/Masters in the Hall

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MASTERS IN THIS HALL

"To Bethlem did they go, the shepherds three;
To Bethlem did they go to see whe'r it were so or no,
Whether Christ were born or no
   To set men free."

   Masters, in this hall,
      Hear ye news to-day
   Brought 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.

   Going over the hills,
      Through the milk-white snow.
   Heard I ewes bleat
      While the wind did blow.
                   Nowell, &c.

   Shepherds many an one
      Sat among the sheep;
   No man spake more word
      Than they had been asleep.
                   Nowell, &c.

   Quoth I 'Fellows mine,
      Why this guise sit ye?
   Making but dull cheer,
      Shepherds though ye be?
                    Nowell, &c.

   'Shepherds should of right
      Leap and dance and sing;
   Thus to see ye sit
      Is a right strange thing.'
                    Nowell, &c.

   Quoth these fellows then
      'To Bethlem town we go,
   To see a Mighty Lord
      Lie in manger low.'
                    Nowell, &c.

   'How name ye this Lord,
      Shepherds?' then said I.
   'Very God' they said,
      'Come from Heaven high.'
                    Nowell, &c.

   Then to Bethlem town
      We went two and two,
   And in a sorry place
      Heard the oxen low.
                    Nowell, &c.

   Therein did we see
      A sweet and goodly May,

   And a fair old man;
      Upon the straw she lay.
                    Nowell, &c.

   And a little CHILD
      On her arm had she;
   'Wot ye who this is?'
      Said the hinds to me.
                    Nowell, &c.

   Ox and ass him know,
      Kneeling on their knee:
   Wondrous joy had I
      This little BABE to see.
                    Nowell, &c.

   This is CHRIST the Lord,
      Masters, be ye glad!
   Christmas is come in,
      And no folk should be sad.
                    Nowell, &c.