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Sing We the Virgin Mary

[trad. arr. Steeleye Span]

According to the New Oxford Book of Carols, John Jacob Niles claimed to have collected this carol in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1933 and published it in 1948 in The Anglo-American Carol Study Book. This would appear to be a near-miraculous survival of the fifteenth-century English carol text I Sing of a Maiden That Is Makeless.

Maddy Prior sang this carol on Steeleye Span’s CD Winter. She commented in the album’s sleeve notes:

What a beautiful medieval carol this is. Every word and every note perfectly written.


Sing we the Virgin Mary,
Sing we that matchless one;
See how the angels attended her
𝄆 When she birthed God’s own sun. 𝄇

So silently came our Jesus
Unto his sweet Mary,
As dew in April falleth
𝄆 On flower so tenderly. 𝄇

When Jesus was a-borning
To earth came heaven down,
To lie upon a manger
𝄆 Away in Bethlem town. 𝄇

Ah, blessed maiden mother,
Beknown to prophecy:
Now Jesus is a-borning
𝄆 And all men honour thee. 𝄇