The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Douzen of Points

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: J. Woodfall Ebsworth, ed., The Roxburghe Ballads. Vol. 7. Part I. (Hertford: Printed for the Ballad Society by Stephen Austin and Sons, 1890), pp. 780-781.

From a Broadside entered in Stat. Reg. 14 December 1624

A Godly new Ballad, intituled, A Dozen of Poynts.

A Dozen of Poynts you here may read,
Whereon each Christian Soul may feed.

The gift is small, a Douzen of Points, wherewith I'd wish you knit your joynts;
Keep well the same and credit me, thy life most pure and just shall be.

The first Point's this, I wish you keep, Is that at night before you sleep
See still you ask God forgivenesse, 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 this, that thou should'st 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 be ware, and to avoyd the subtile snare:
For Satan with his crafty power doth seek men's soul for to devour.

The fift[h] good counsel 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 wo, 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 eight[h] doth bid thee, more or less, still to beware of drunkenness;
For drunkenness is abhorr'd of God, on whom he lays his heavy Rod.

The ninth saith, Fornication flye, those wicked Hariots will make thee dye,
Thy body they'l consume, I say, and bring thy soul unto decay.

The tenth doth say do not forswear; false witness against no man bear:
Let no affection sway thy mind, the eye of ju-tice so to blind.

The eleventh enjoyns thee not to desire thy Neighbours' goods for to require;
But the ten Commandments observe, so shalt thou stand and never swerve.

The twelfth saith serve the God of might, and truely 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 dost rest:
   Keep well each one in his degree; and knit them fast, and credit me.

Printed for T. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clark.

Notes in The Roxburgh Ballads:

[Lost from Roxb. Collection, II. 577; Rawlinson, 666, fol. 176; Pepys, II. 30; Euing, 126.]

In Black-letter, printed alongside of 'The Angel Gabriel,' beginning, "When righteous Joseph wedded was," for which see p. 779. Three cuts on the sheet, the two belonging to 'A dozen of Poynts,' being a half-length portrait of a nobleman; and a clumsy, worm-eaten, and mutilated figure of a man kneeling. Entered in Stat. Reg. 14 Dec., 1624. Of both ballads, Rawlinson's was printed for Coles, Vere, Wright, Thackeray, and Passenger. Euing's, of both ballads, printed for Coles, Vere, and Gilbertson. An early exemplar, in book-form, is in Wood's Carols, 164.

*.* In the small collection entitled Good and True, Fresh and New Christmas Carols, 1642, is one 'Modest Carol of the Twelve Days,' sung to the tune of, In the merry Maying time. It begins, "A Dozen of Good Points I'le give; The which will last you while you live" (Wood's Carols, 110, art. 3).

Editor's Note

I assume that the reference to "Wood's Carols" is to the collection of Anthony Wood (1632-1695), held at the Ashmolean Museum.

According to other sources, Vere and Gilbertson do not appear as booksellers before about 1640.

The copies of this carol on this website include:

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

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