December 27, 2011

St. John the Evangelist

There is, apparently, a long tradition of English hymns and devotions to St. John, the Evangelist, the beloved disciple of Christ.  The website (an invaluable resources, by the way) Hymns and Carols of Christmas has them all listed for the perusing. I particularly like this ancient carol, from Songs and Carols, 1471. The image, above, is the Donne Tryptich, from the National Gallery of London, by Hans Memling--which depicts the Christ Child with the Blessed Virgin, and Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.

To the now, Crystys der derlyng,
That was a mayd bothe old and yng,
Myn hert is sett for to syng,
Amici Christi, Johannes.

For he was so clene a maye,
On Crystys brest aslepe he laye,
The prevyteys of heyn ther he saye,
Amici Christi, Johannes.

Qwhen Cryst before Pilate was browte,
Hys clene mayd forsoke hym nowte,
To deye with hym was all hys thowte,
Amici Christi, Johannes.

Crystys modr was hym betake,
Won mayd to be anodyris make,
To help that we b enott forsake,
Amici Christi, Johannes.

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