The English Carol Book

Complete Edition, 1938

Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer , Editors
(London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1919)

 

Contents

"First Series" Table of Contents

"Second Series" Table of Contents

"First Series" Introductions

"Second Series" Introductions

"Combined Edition" Introductions

 

"First Series" Table of Contents

1. A Child This Day Is Born

2. A Virgin Most Pure, As The Prophet Do Tell

3. Angelus ad Virginem (Came The Archangel To The Maid)

4. As Up The Wood I Took My Way

5. The Babe in Bethleem's Manger Laid

6. The Cherry Tree Carol (Joseph Was An Old Man - Version 3)

7. Christ Is Born

8. Corpus Christi Carol (Over Yonder's A Park Which Is Newly Begun)

9. The First Nowell That The Angel Did Say

10. This New Christmas Carrol

11. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (First Version & Second Version)

12. God's Dear Son Without Beginning - Version 1

13. Good King Wenceslas Looked Out

14. Here We Come A-Wassailing (The Wassail Song - Version 1)

15. The Holly And The Ivy

16. The Holly Well (As It Fell Out One May Morning)

17. Hominum Laudes (Christ, Hath Christ's Mother)

18. I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In - First Version [Version 2 is in the Second Series]

19. In Dulci Jubilo - Woodward

20. Jacobs Ladder (As Jacob With Travel)

21. Tschaikowsky's Legend: The Crown Of Roses (When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child)

22. The New Adam (The Lord At First Had Adam Made)

23. The Praise Of Christmas (Drive The Cold Winter Away)

24. Remember, O Thou Man - Version 2

25. The Salutation Carol (Nowell, Nowell ... This Is The Salutation)

26. The Seven Joys Of Mary - Version 2 (The First Good Joy Out Mary Had)

27. The Snow Lies Thick Upon The Earth

28. Three Kings In Great Glory of Horses and Men

29. Unto Us Is Born A Son

30 The Waits' Song (The Moon Shines Bright)

31. When Jesus Christ Was Twelve Years Old

32. When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was

"Second Series" Table of Contents

33. A Babe Is Born All Of A May

34. Bethlehem (Dans cette Útable / In That Poor Stable)

35. Ben Jonson's Carol (I Sing The Birth Was Born To-Night)

36. Boar's Head Carol (The Boarĺs Head In Hand Bear I)

37. Candlemas Eve Carol (Down With The Rosemary And Bays)

38. Coventry Carol - Version 1 (O Sisters Too)

39. The Falcon Carol (He Bare Him Up)

40. Gallery Carol (Rejoice And Be Merry)

41. I Saw Three Ships - Version 3 [Second Version in Shaw and Dearmer; Version 1 is in the First Series]

42. Kings of Orient (We Three Kings Of Orient Are)

43. In Excelsis Gloria (When Christ Was Born of Mary Free)

44. May-Day Garland (I've Brought You Here A Bunch Of May!)

45. O Lovely Voices Of The Sky

46. New Prince, New Pomp (Behold A Simple Tender Babe)

47. "Noel, Noel, Noel," Sang The Church Bell (Noel, Noel, Noel)

48. The Snow In The Street (From Far Away)

49 Somerset Carol (Come All You Worthy Gentlemen)

50. The World Is Old Tonight

51. This Endris Night I Saw A Sight - Version 2

52. Welcome Yule (Rickert; Shaw & Dearmer) (Welcome Be Thou)

53. What Child Is This, Who, Laid To Rest - Version 1

54. A Yeomans Carol (Let Christians All With Joyful Mirth)

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"First Series" Introductions

"First Series" Introduction by Martin Shaw

Is is a remarkable thing that the Victorian era Ś which produced, in the ordinary way of business, a book with such beautiful and appropriate wood-cuts as those contained in a popular volume of Carols now lying before me Ś should have produced no musician willing to arrange the tunes for choral use in a manner corresponding to the sturdy peasant-note which is so characteristic of them; no musician, indeed, who could even perceive that a folk-tune is a different thing from a sentimental part-song like "Sweet and Low."

This was typical of the taste of the 'seventies, when churchgoers could apparently fix their minds on the highest things of all, and at the same time cheerfully submit to whatever banality in the shape of chant, hymn, anthem, or service, might be produced by those who were supposed to guard the traditions of ecclesiastical song. It would be pleasant to add that we have changed all that. But to do so might, I am afraid, be saying too much.

There seem, however, indications that a change in popular taste is at hand. Much discontent undoubtedly exists, and the founding of the Church Music Society, the Folk-Song Society, and the Summer School of Church Music, and the appearance of the English Hymnal [1906], are welcome signs of a new era.

It is with hope, then, that the time is ripe for an attempt to be made to present our national Carols in a manly and fitting way that the present collection is offered to the public.

The present volume contains the well-known English traditional Carols and tunes, arranged for Choral use, together with a few which appear for the first time.

Our thanks are due to the Rev. G. R. Woodward and the publishers of the Cowley Carol Book (an excellent collection on different lines from the present book, in that it is a collection of the best foreign Christmas Noels and songs), for permission to use two of his translations; to Miss Nan Knowles, for clerical help; to the Rev. Gabriel Gillett, for his new translation of "Angelus ad Virginem"; to Mr. Geoffrey Dearmer, for his translation of the "Legeng"; to Mr. Selwyn Image, for his contributions of original Carols, specially written for the present book; to Dr. Baughan Williams, for his setting of the Salutation Carol; to Mr. Mackmurdo, for permission to use the late Lionel Johnson's Carol, "Hominum Laudes"; to Mr. Frank Kidson, for communicating the words and tune of No. 23 [The Praise of Christmas: All Hail To The Days That Merit More Praise];  and to my brother Geoffrey, for his two new Carol tunes and for his settings of old Carol tunes, and for his valuable advice and help throughout. Except where otherwise stated, the arrangements of the tunes are by me.

"First Series" Introduction by Percy Dearmer

It is intended that there should be two or three different strands in this collection. The main strand is the traditional English Carol, the religious folk-song of our people; but there are also a few of the most beautiful Carols of other countries, translated into English, and a few also by modern writers, since it is a good thing to keep an art alive, and to add a little that is new to the old, if the new be worthy, as it seems to me to be in this case. Some modern writers have written find Carols, notably Mr. Selwyn Image; and some have written tunes which have the true ring. Moreover, in some cases, new work is necessary because the original tune of an old Carol has been lost, and in some there are no English words to a tune. It will also be noticed that a certain number of the old Carols in this volume are well known, and others hardly known at all. Both kinds should be welcome; and all, I think, are beautiful.

The Folk Carols have often been preserved in more than once version; and doubtless, if the words of every company of wassailers had been taken down, they would never have been quite the same. There is thus no authentic "text"; and here and there we have put in a missing word which is needed for the singing, and was indeed probably sung. But otherwise we have not interfered with the originals, except occasionally to omit a verse. They are often rough and quaint, and do not always fit into our present ideas of grammar; but they are true and sweet, with the proper quality of real songs (which are like the strings of an instrument ready for their music), and with a certain tender and mellow humanity. Like the ancient buildings round which they were sung, these Folk Carols would only be spoilt by attempts at reconstruction or embellishment.

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"Second Series" Introductions

"Second Series" Introduction by Percy Dearmer and Martin Shaw

Since often the words only of an old Carol are preserved, and sometimes only the tune, this collection contains, besides complete traditional examples, some old Carols now mated to traditional tunes which would otherwise be wordless, and some for which tunes have been written either by the Musical Editor [Martin Shaw] or by the gifted composers who have kindly come to our assistance. In this way Herrick's Candlemas Carol carries an old church-gallery tune (37), and Ben Jonson and William Morris are set by Mr. Rutland Boughton (35) and Dr. Vaughan Williams (48); and, while some of the beautiful Old English Carols of pre-Reformation date have their own tunes, others have been now brought, we hope, into common use again by Mr. John Ireland (46), Mr. Sydney Nicholson (52), and by the Musical Editor (39, 43).

We have also to thank Mr. Joseph Morrat and Mr. Laurence Housman for the two Carols (Nos. 47 and 50) from their Nativity play, "Bethlehem"'; Mr. L. J. T. Darwall for the tunes to Nos. 37, 40, and 54; Miss J. H. Blunt for the tune No. 41, recently noted by her.

Mr. Cecil Sharp, to whom so many are indebted, has allowed us to include No. 49. For the late Mr. Chatterton Dix's Carol (No. 53) we are indebted to the kind permission of his daughter.

 

It is highly desirable, in performing these Carols, never to sing all the verses through in the same way. Variety may be obtained, for instance, by singing the first and last verses (and in the case of a long Carol, other selected verses) in unison. Some (as, for example, the Corpus Christi Carol in the First Series) may be treated as a solo, and the organ harmonies sung bouche fermÚe by the choir. The organ may be brought in with thrilling effect in a Carol like the "First Nowell," after having been silent in the middle verses. A fine antiphonal effect may be produced by alternate singing of choir and people. These methods should be thought out beforehand, and announced before the beginning of each Carol, in order that the people may fulfil their appointed part with confidence. It is a great help to choir and people if the choirmaster stand in some central spot and conduct them both.

We have introduced in some cases a new musical feature, which we have called the prŠludium. It consists of one or two irregular lines, sung as a solo before the Carol begins, and connected musically with the Carol tune. Very many of the fifteenth century Carols are headed in the text with a little lilting refrain, which looks as if it were meant to be sung; and in one roystering banquet-hall Carol of the reign of Henry VIII there is such an introduction in dialogue, with once sentence to which the word "plain-song" is affixed. We have retained the original headings in the fifteenth century Carols here given, and have set them to music. We have also added one or two other old prŠludia to later Carols, setting them also. We think those who use the book will agree that they are a very beautiful feature, and will prefer not to omit them.

P.D.

M.S.

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"Combined Edition" Introductions

"Combined Edition" Introduction by Martin Shaw

The English Carol Book (First Series) appeared in 1913. A Second Series was added in 1919. Both Series have been several times reprinted, and are now for the first time appearing under one cover.

The Editor of the Words (and the inspirer of the whole collection) [Percy Dearmer] passed away last year. The English Carol Book represented the first of many collaborations between him and me. I feel sure he would have welcomed the present issue in one volume, and I should like to dedicate it to his memory.

The following extracts from the Prefaces to the original editions are retained as giving some indication of the purpose and scope of the collections and of the assistance which we received in compiling them.

MARTIN SHAW

S. Philip and S. James
     May 1, 1938

"Combined Edition" Introduction by Percy Dearmer and Martin Shaw

It is a remarkable thing that the Victorian era Ś which produced, in the ordinary way of business, a book which such beautiful and appropriate woodcuts as those contained in a popular volume of Carols now lying before me Ś could have produced no musician willing to arrange the tunes for choral use in a manner corresponding to the sturdy peasant-note which is so characteristic of them; no musician, indeed, who could even perceive that a folk-tune is a different thing from a sentimental part-song like "Sweet and Low." This was typical of the taste of the 'seventies, when churchgoers could apparently fix their mind of the highest things of all, and at the same time cheerfully submit to whatever banality in the shape of chant, hymn, anthem, or service, might be produced by those who were supposed to guard the traditions of ecclesiastical song.

There seem, however, indications that a change in popular taste is at hand, and it is with the hope that the time is ripe for an attempt to be made to present our national Carols in a manly and fitting way that the present collection is offered to the public.

Our thanks are due to the Rev. G. R. Woodward, and the publishers of The Cowley Carol Book for permission to use two of his translations; to Miss Nan Knowles, for clerical help; to the Rev. Gabriel Gillett, for his new translation of "Angelus ad Virginem"; to Mr. Geoffrey Dearmer, for his translation of the "Legend"; to Mr. Selwyn Image, for his contributions of original Carols, specially written for the present book; to Dr. Vaughan Williams, for his setting of the Salutation Carol; to Mr. Mackmurdo, for permission to use the late Lionel Johnson's Carol, "Hominum Laudes"; to Mr. Frank Kidson, for communicating the words and tune of No. 23; and to Mr. Geoffrey Shaw for his two new Carol tunes and for his settings of old Carol tunes, and for his valuable advice and help throughout. Except where otherwise stated, the arrangements of the tunes are by Mr. Martin Shaw.

It is intended that there should be two or three different strands in this collection. The main strand is the traditional English Carol, the religious folk-song of our people; but there are also a few of the most beautiful Carols of other countries, translated into English, and a few also by modern writers, since it is a good thing to keep an art alive, and to add a little that is new to the old, if the new be worthy, as it seems to me to be in this case. Some modern writers have written find Carols, notably Mr. Selwyn Image; and some have written tunes which have the true ring. Moreover, in some cases, new work is necessary because the original tune of an old Carol has been lost, and in some there are no English words to a tune. It will also be noticed that a certain number of the old Carols in this volume are well known, and others hardly known at all. Both kinds should be welcome; and all, I think, are beautiful.

The Folk Carols have often been preserved in more than once version; and doubtless, if the words of every company of wassailers had been taken down, they would never have been quite the same. There is thus no authentic "text"; and here and there we have put in a missing word which is needed for the singing, and was indeed probably sung. But otherwise we have not interfered with the originals, except occasionally to omit a verse. They are often rough and quaint, and do not always fit into our present ideas of grammar; but they are true and sweet, with the proper quality of real songs (which are like the strings of an instrument ready for their music), and with a certain tender and mellow humanity. Like the ancient buildings round which they were sung, these Folk Carols would only be spoilt by attempts at reconstruction or embellishment.

Since often the words only of an old Carol are preserved, and sometimes only the tune, this collection contains, besides complete traditional examples, some old Carols now mated to traditional tunes which would otherwise be wordless, and some for which tunes have been written either by the Musical Editor or by the gifted composers who have kindly come to our assistance. In this way, Herrick's Christmas Carol carries an old church-gallery tune (37), and Ben Jonson and William Morris are set by Mr. Rutland Boughton (35) and Dr. Vaughan Williams (48); and, while some of the beautiful old English Carols of pre-Reformation date have their own tunes, others have been now brought, we hope, into common use again by Mr. John Ireland (46), Mr. Stanley Nicholson (52), and the Musical Editor (39, 43). We have also to thank Mr. Joseph Moorat and Mr. Laurence Housman for the two Carols (Nos. 47 and 50) from their Nativity Play, "Bethlehem"; Mr. L. J. T. Darwall for the tunes to Nos. 37, 40, and 54; Miss J. H. Blunt for the tunes No. 41. Mr. Cecil Sharp has allowed us to include No. 49. For the late Mr. Chatterton Dix's Carol (No. 53) we are indebted to the kind permission of his daughter.

It is highly desirable, in performing these Carols, never to sing all the verses through in the same way. Variety may be obtained, for instance, by singing the first and last verses (and in the case of a long Carol, other selected verses) in unison. Some (as, for example, The Corpus Christi Carol in the First Series) may be treated as a solo, and the organ harmonies sung bouche fermÚe by the choir. The organ may be brought in with thrilling effect in a Carol like the "First Nowell," after having been silent in the middle verses. A fine antiphonal effect may be produced by alternate singing of choir and people. We have introduced in some cases a new musical feature, which we have called the praeludium. It consists of one or two irregular lines, sung as a solo before the Carol begins, and connected musically with the carol tune.

P. D.

M. S.

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