John Speller's Web Pages Ad Natalem Domini -- The Carol of King Knüt

John Speller's Web Pages - English Christmas Carols
Ad Natalem Domini -- The Carol of King Knüt
"On a certain day King Canute came to Ely in a boat, accompanied by his wife Queen Emma and the chief nobles of his kingdom, hoping to keep there the solemn Festival of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, and when the boat came to the Portus Pusillus of the Monastery, the King raised his eyes aloft to the great Church which close by stood up on the rocky eminence, and was aware of a sound of great sweetness, and listening intently heard the melody increase, and perceived it was the monks in the Convent their psalms and chanting "the hours," and calling his people about him, he exhorted them also to sing with gladness, he himself with his own mouth expressing the joy of his heart in a little song of English words of which this verse is the beginning:

Merie sunge the munecheës binnen Ely,
Tha Cnut ching rew ther by.
Roweth, cnihtës, noer the land,
And herë we these munechës sung."

The Right Reverend Charles William Stubbs, D.D. was Bishop of Truro. He wrote this carol when he was Dean of Ely Cathedral between 1894 and 1906.

Sir Richard Runciman Terry was Organist of Westminster Cathedral. Doxford is a village in his native Northumberland.

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Canute listening to the monks of Ely
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