Article Title

"Wee happy heardsmen here": A Newly Discovered Shepherds' Carol Possibly Belonging to a Medieval Pageant


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Bishop Smith's part-song manuscript books (altus and bassus only) were first described by James Walter Brown1 in 1921 and 1922, but then were lost sight of until very recently2 when they were found to be in the Carlisle Cathedral Library.3 Brown had received the manuscript part-books, compiled c. 1637 by Thomas Smith, later bishop of Carlisle, from the widow of a friend with a letter saying "I found the enclosed among my husband's books, and thought they might be of some interest to you. If so, please keep them; if not, burn them." Brown remembered his friend claiming to have bought them from an old book stall, and realizing how narrowly they had escaped destruction determined that their proper home was the "Bodleian library in Oxford, where they were copied and 'sowne together' nearly 300 years ago." There they were to have been more readily accessible to students than in the Chapter Library of Carlisle Cathedral where he had first thought of placing them, and where they might easily suffer from days of transition in which the continued existence of Deans and Chapters was itself precarious. The part-books never got to the Bodleian.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.