Saint Stephen Was A Clerk

Anon
(15th century)

 

Saint Stephen was a clerk

In King Herod's hall,

And served him of bread and cloth

As ever king befall.

 

Stephen out of the kitchen came

With boarès head in hand;

He saw a star was fair and bright

Over Bethlehem stand

 

He cast down the boarès head

And went into the hall;

'I forsake thee, King Herod,

And thy workès all;

 

'I forsake thee King Herod,

And thy workès all:

There is a Child in Bethlehem born

Is better than we all.'

 

'What aileth thee, Stephen,

What is thee befall?

Lacketh thee either meat or drink

In King Herod's hall?'

 

'Lacketh me neither meat nor drink

In King Herod's hall:

There is a Child in Bethlehem born
Is better than we all.'

 

'What aileth thee, Stephen,

Art thou wode, or thou ginnest to breide?

Lacketh thee either gold or fee

Or any richè weed?'

 

'Lacketh me neither gold nor fee,

Nor none rich weed:

There is a Child in Bethlehem born

Shall helpen us at our need.'

 

'That is also sooth, Stephen,

Also sooth, iwis,

As this capon crowè shall

That lieth in my dish.'

 

That word was not so sooner said,

That word in that hall,

The capon crew 'Christus natus est'

Among the lordès all.

 

'Riseth up, my tormentors,

By two and all by one,

And leadeth Stephen out of this town

And stoneth him with stone.'

 

Tooketh they Stephen

And stoned him in the way;

And therefore is his even

On Christes owen day.

 

 

 

  Return to Christmas Poetry home page