The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Douzen of Points

For Christmas

From Pepysian Collection, 2.30

Words: English Traditional

Music: English Traditional

Source: English Broadside Ballad Archive, EBBA ID 20653

A Godly new Ballad, Intituled, A Douzen of Points.

A Douzen of Points, you here may read,
Whereon each Christian Soul may feed.

The gift is small, a Douzen of Points,
wherewith ide wish you knit your joynts
Keep well the same and credit me,
Thy Life more pure and just will be.

The first points this, ide wish you keep,
Is that at night before you sleep,
See still you ask God forgiveness,
Of all your sins and wickedness.

The second point is this I say,
When thou dost see the chearful day,
Arise and praise the God of might,
That hath defended thee all night.

The third is that thou shouldst require,
And on thy bended knees desire,
The God of Heaven to be thy stay,
For to preserve thee night and day.

The fourth doth bid thee to beware,
And to avoid the subtile snare,
For Satan with his crafty power,
Doth seek Mens soul for to devour,

The fifth good Councel doth thee give,
And warn thee well whilst thou dost live,
To keep thy Conscience clear and pure,
Then God will bless thee to be sure.

The sixth of these my Points do will,
That thou devise no subtile skill:
Whereby to work thy Neighbours woe,
Take heed I say, and do not so.

The seventh saith, defraud no man,
But deal as justly as you can,
The Widdow and the Fatherless defend,
So God will bless thee to the end.

The eighth doth bid thee more or less,
Still to beware of Drunkenness,
For Drunkards are abhord by God,
On whom he lays his heavy rod,

The ninth saith fornication flye,
Those wicked Harlots will make thee dye:
hy body theyl consume, I say,
And bring thy soul unto decay.

The tenth doth day, do not forswear,
False witness against no man bear:
Let no affections sway thy mind,
The eye of Justice so to blind.

The eleventh enjoyns thee not to desire,
Thy Neighbours goods for to require:
But the ten Commandments observe,
So thou shalt stand and never swerve,

The twelfth saith serve the God of might,
And truly serve him day and night,
Obey the King as tis thy part,
And to thy Country bear a faithful heart.

See these my Points thou dost possess,
Even when thou thy self doth rest,
Keep well each one in his degree,
And knit them fast then credit me.


Euing_1_126_Dozen Points.jpg (807420 bytes) Date Published: 1685. It was found in Pepys Collection of Ballads, 2.30. located in The Samuel Pepys Library, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.

This is not the sort of ballad or carol that we usually associate with Christmas, but it does point out an important part of the Advent preparations of our ancestors: proper preparation of the soul for the Second Advent (the Second Coming at which time all will be judged). Other Christmas Broadsides contain ballads with similar themes of personal preparation.


Euing_1_126_2448x2448.jpg (3031928 bytes) Euing_1_126-Angel Gabriel.jpg (723870 bytes)It is available online at the English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara, (EBBA ID 20653).  Printed on same sheet with this ballad was one entitled "The Angel Gabriel, his Salutation to the Virgin Mary," also found under the title of When Righteous Joseph wedded was.

Compare: A Dozen of Points; the companion ballad on that Broadside was When righteous Joseph wedded was (from the Euing Collection).

Other copies of this carol are:

Contrast: A Dossen of Points - Wright (similar title, different song)

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