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Middle English Lyrics: Alma Redemptoris Mater

Coronation of the Virgin, late 15th century French Manuscript
Coronation of the Virgin. Late 15th-c.

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Alma redemptoris mater.

As I lay upon a nyght,
My thought I saw a semly syght
That callid was Mary bright,
      Redemptoris mater.

Ther come Gabriel with lyght
And saide: "Haile, thou swete wyght!
To be clepyd thou art y-dyght."
      Redemptoris mater.

Ther she conceyved God almyght
That was in stalle with her al nyght,
And there men knewe what he hight.
      Redemptoris mater.

Whan Jhesu was on the rode y-pyght,
Mary was sory of that syght
Tyl that she saw hym ryse upryght.
      Redemptoris mater.

And after to heven he toke his flyght,
Ther he is nowe in blysse bryght.
And with hym that swete wyght.
      Redemptoris mater.


Alma redemptoris mater, loving mother of the Redeemer.
My thought, methought; I thought.
semly, pleasing.
wyght, creature.
To be clepyd thou art y-dyght., to be summoned, thou wert created.
almyght, almighty.
in stalle, in the ox stall.
he hight, he was called.
forlorne, forsaken.
rode, rood; the cross.
y-pyght, placed.
ryse upryght, rise up (to heaven).
toke, took.
blysse, splendor.

Manuscript Image of Bodleian MS. Arch. Selden B. 26, fol. 13v.

Transcribed and glossed from the manuscript by Anniina Jokinen.


Jokinen, Anniina, ed. "Alma redemptoris mater." Luminarium.
          24 Nov 2009. [Date you accessed this page].

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