SHEPHERD 1: Brother in haste, take heed and hear What I will speak and specify: Since we walk thus far over here, What moves my mood, now tell will I: Our forefathers, faithful in fear Hosea and Isaiah, know I Proved that a prince without peer Should descend in a lady, thereby Mankind thus to purify, To heal the forlorn. And in Bethlehem close hereby Is that same boy to be born. SHEPHERD 2: Ere he be born in that burg nearby Of Bethlehem, brother, I have heard say A star would shine out and signify Delightful gleams as bright as day. This text was shown to my own eye By men who are witty and learned in our way. With blessed blood, he shall us buy. He should come here by way of a maid And once I heard my father say: When he of her was born, She'd be as clean a maid As ever she was before. SHEPHERD 3: Ah, merciful Maker, much is your might That thus your servants may see; Might we once look upon that light, Gladder brothers no men might be. I have heard say, by that same light The children of Israel shall be made free, The force of the fiend will fall in fight, And all of his power excluded should be. Wherefore brother, I counsel that we Fly fast over these fells To try to find our sheep And speak of something else. SHEPHERD 1: Hey, Hud! SHEPHERD 2: Hey, how? SHEPHERD 1: Listen to me. SHEPHERD 2: Whoah, man, you go mad out of might! SHEPHERD 1: Hey, Coll! SHEPHERD 3: What care has come into thee? SHEPHERD 1: Step you forth and stand by me right, And tell me then, If ever you saw such a sight. SHEPHERD 3: I? Nay, truly, nor never no man. SHEPHERD 2: Say fellows what - have you found any feast? It fits I should have my part, indeed! SHEPHERD 1: Hey, Hud, behold in the east A wondrous sight then you shall see Up in the sky. SHEPHERD 2: Hey, tell me men, among us three What makes you stare so steadily? SHEPHERD 3: As long as we have herdsman been And kept these cattle in this rough- So wondrous a sight was never seen SHEPHERD 1: Hey! No, Colle, it comes new enough! That can we find. This star with piercing rays so keen What think you two that it might mean? SHEPHERD 3: Ah, now is come the time foretold, By ancient fathers from of old, That in the winter's night so cold, A maid should bear a flower bold. Now it's fulfilled. For now in her these words unfold, And God is born of maid on mold. SHEPHERD 2: Beloved be God, the most in might, That gives us grace to see this sight. We praise him now as it is right And kneel we here this holy night. Almighty Lord, We thank you for this star so bright That through thick darkness sends such light. [The angels sing "Gloria in excelsis Deo"] SHEPHERD 2: Well, this is a wondrous note on high I think I heard the angels' song. Did you hear heavn'ly lullaby? What can it mean that thus is sung? What, shall we try? SHEPHERD 3: It means some marvel among us Full hardly now say I. SHEPHERD 1: What it should mean? That know not ye For all that you can gape and moon: I can sing it as well as he And as a test it shall be soon Proved, ere we pass If ye will help, sing on! Let's see For it was thus: [And then they sing] SHEPHERD 2: Ha ha! This was a merry note! By the death that I shall die, I have so cracked my throat, My lips are nearly dry SHEPHERD 3: You boast, my boys. Now, what it was, to know would I That made this noble noise. SHEPHERD 1: An angel brought us tidings new: A babe in Bethlehem is born, Of whom did speak our prophesies true. And bade us meet him there this morn. That mild of mood- I would give him both hat and horn, If I could find that noble food. SHEPHERD 3: Him to find, we have no doubt, And I shall tell the reason why: Yonder star will point him out. SHEPHERD 2: Yeah, you say the truth, let's go thereby Him to honour, And making mirth with voices high With song we seek our saviour. [And then they sing.] SHEPHERD 1: Brothers, be all blithe and glad Here's the burg where we should be SHEPHERD 2: In that same place are we now had; Therefore I will seek and see. Such chance of weal, herdsmen ne'er had; Lo, here is the house-and here is he. SHEPHERD 3: Yes, indeed, this is the same, Look, where that lord is laid, Between two beasts so tame, Just as the angel said. SHEPHERD 1: The angel said that he should save The world, and all that live therein. Therefore, if I should something crave, To worship him I will begin, Since I am but a simple knave, Although I come of courteous kin. Lo, here such baubles as I have, A simple brooch with a bell of tin At your bosom to be. And when you shall wield all, Good son, forget not me, If any good befall. SHEPHERD 2: Oh son, that shall save both sea and sand, See to me, since I have sought. I am too poor to cross your hand As my heart would, and as I ought. Two cobble-nuts upon a band- See, little babe, what I have brought. And when you're lord of all the land, Do good again, forget me not. For I have heard declared, By cunning clerks and clean, That bounty asks reward, Now you know what I mean SHEPHERD 3: Now look on me, my lord so dear, Although I shove not forth with these You are a prince without a peer I have no present which could please. But look, a horn spoon I have here, And it will harbour forty peas. This will I give you with good cheer; Such novelty may not displease. Farewell you sweet swain God grant us long life so, We take us home again, And making mirth we go.
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