A Douzen of Points
From Pepysian Collection, 2.30
Words: English Traditional
Music: English Traditional
A Godly new Ballad, Intituled, A Douzen of Points.
A Douzen of Points, you here
Whereon each Christian Soul may feed.
The gift is small, a Douzen
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
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
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
And to avoid the subtile snare,
For Satan with his crafty power,
Doth seek Mens soul for to devour,
The fifth good Councel doth
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
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
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
Still to beware of Drunkenness,
For Drunkards are abhord by God,
On whom he lays his heavy rod,
The ninth saith fornication
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
False witness against no man bear:
Let no affections sway thy mind,
The eye of Justice so to blind.
The eleventh enjoyns thee not
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
Even when thou thy self doth rest,
Keep well each one in his degree,
And knit them fast then credit me.
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.
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.
Other copies of this carol are:
Contrast: A Dossen of Points - Wright (similar title, different song)
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