> Shirley Collins > Songs > Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene

Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene

[anon., arr. Shirley Collins / John Sothcott]

Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene is a 13th Century English gymel (a sort of early English polyphony) in praise of the Virgin Mary.

Shirley Collins sang Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene, accompanied by John Sothcott on vielle, in 1976 on her and her sister Dolly’s album Amaranth. She also sang it with the Albion Dance Band live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1976; this was published in 2007 on the CD Dancing Days Are Here Again. Another live performance of Shirley Collins and John Sothcott recorded in 1977 in Sweden was included in her anthology Within Sound.

The Artisans sang Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene in 2014 on their CD The Medieval Experience. They noted:

[…] Also on the subject of Mary is Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene, which is thought to have come from Llanthony Priory. It is an example of a gymel, which is a composition for two equal voices, and is typically English in its extensive use of thirds.


Shirley Collins sings Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene

Edi beo thu, hevene quene,
Folkes froure and engles blis,
Moder unwemmed and maiden clene,
Swich in world non other nis.
On thee hit is wel eth sene,
Of all wimmen thu havest thet pris;
Mi swete levedi, her mi bene
And reu of me yif thi wille is.

Thu asteghe so the daiy rewe
The deleth from the deorke nicht;
Of thee sprong a leome newe
That al this world haveth ilight.
Nis non maide of thine heowe
Swo fair, so schene, so rudi, swo bricht;
Swete levedi, of me thu reowe
And have merci of thin knicht.

Spronge blostme of one rote,
The Holi Gost thee reste upon;
Thet wes for monkunnes bote
And heore soule to alesen for on.
Levedi milde, softe and swote,
Ic crie thee merci, ic am thi mon,
Bothe to honde and to fote,
On alle wise that ic kon.


Blessed be you, heaven’s queen,
People’s comfort and angel’s bliss,
Mother immaculate and maiden pure,
Such in world no other is.
In you it is easily seen,
Of all women you have the prize;
My sweet lady, hear my prayer
And have pity on me if you will.

You ascend like the ray of dawn
Which separates from the dark night;
From you sprang a new light
That has lit all this world.
There is no maid of your complexion
So fair, so beautiful, so fresh, so bright;
Sweet lady, have compassion
And have mercy on your knight.

Blossom sprung from a single root,
The Holy Ghost rested upon you;
That was for mankind’s benefit
And their soul to redeem on.
Lady mild, soft and sweet,
I cry for your mercy, I am your servant,
Both hand and foot,
In all ways that I know.


I found the original lyrics and translation fragments in §8 of The Annunciation at the University of Rochester Libraries.