The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Holly and The Ivy

A Secular Carol

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: The Harding Collection, Harding B 11(1506), At the Bodleian Library

1. Some go in for sporting, and others fancy balls,
    But we go in for something better then them all,
We love two farmers daughters we met down in the dell,
    Where the holly and the ivy, and the snowflakes gently fall.

The snow was falling lightly,
    As we wandered through the dell,
And the robins voices calling,
    As love tales we did tell
And the holly and the ivy,
    It clung from tree to tree,
As we wandered through the valley,
    With sweet Bell and Rosy Lee.

2. Through days and nights we wandered with those charmers fair and bright,
    In happiness we met them, it filled us with delight,
The brooklets gently rolling and the birds sang on the tree,
    As we were telling tales of love to Bell and Rosy Lee. Chorus.

3. The stars were gently twinkling and the moon shown up on high,
    No sound but of the rustling of the trees as we passed by,
And with our arms encircled carelessly did stray,
    Until at last they answered yes then named the happy day.  Chorus.


The holly and the ivy are well-known symbols from pagan religions, as well as popular evergreen decorations in the winter. The traditional contest between the two form the basis for both sacred and secular carols. See The Holly And The Ivy, with notes.

This broadside is from Broadside Ballads Online, Harding B11(1506)

Holly and the Ivy-Harding B 11(1506)-02398-Crop.jpg (174399 bytes)

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