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Britten, Wolcum Yole

Subject: Re: Two sentences translated
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 09:33:46 EST
CC: ('')

Dear Colleague:

The translation you requested of the phrases in Britten's Ceremony of Carols in
Wolcum Yole:

I am taking the liberty of posting the entire verse as I annotated for a recent program
here at Washington National Cathedral. You
are free to use it without further permission.


Wolcum be thou hevene king
Wolcum Yole!
[Rehearses the liturgical calendar of Christmas]

Wolcum, born in one morning.
[December 25, The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ]

Wolcum for whom we sall sing!

Wolcum be ye, Stevene and Jon,
[Feast Days Dec 26, Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martye,
Dec 27, Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist]
Wolcum, innocentes ever one,
[Dec. 28, Massacre of the Holy Innocents by Herod]
Wolcum, Thomas marter one
[Dec. 29, Feast day of Thomas the martye]
Wolcum be ye good New Yere,
[Jan. 1, New Year's Day]
Wolcum, Twelfthe Day both in fere.
[both in feasts - Twelfth Day is Jan. 6, Feast of the Epiphany]

Wolcum, seintes lefe and dere
[saints, lesser and dear (meaning "greater")]

Wolcum Yole, wolcum.
[February 2 (Candlemas)]
Quene of bliss,
[Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary]
Wolcum bothe to more and lesse,
Wolcum, wolcum.

Wolcum, be ye that are there.
Wolcum Yole,
Wolcum alle and make good cheer,
Wolcum alle anoher yere,
Wolcum Yole, wolcum.

Anonymous, 14th century text

Margaret Shannon
Program Annotator & Editor, PRELUDE
Cathedral Choral Society
Washington National Cathedral