The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Virgin Most Pure

For Christmas

Words & Music: English Traditional

Source: Davies Gilbert, Some Ancient Christmas Carols. London: John Nichols And Son, Second Edition, 1823, Carol #3, pp. 10-12.
Also compared to Davies Gilbert, "Some Ancient Christmas Carols."
London: Nichols and Sons, 1822, reprinted Boston: Elibron Classics, 2007.
The 1822 edition has been scanned and posted on Google Books.

Also found in William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), p. 61.

See: In Bethlehem City - Notes

1. A virgin most pure, as the Prophets do tell,
Hath brought forth a baby1, as it hath befell,
To be our Redeemer from death, hell and sin,
Which Adamís transgression had wrapped2 us in.

Refrain
Aye, and therefore be you merry,
Rejoice and be merry,
Set sorrow aside;
Christ Jesus our Savior was born on this tide.3

2. At Bethlehem city in Jewry4 a City there was5
Where Joseph and Mary together did pass,
And there to be taxed, with many one more,
For Cśsar commanded the same should be so. Refrain

3. But, when they had entered the city so fair5a
A number of people so mighty was there,
That Joseph and Mary, whose substance was small,
Could get in the Inn there6 no lodging at all. Refrain

4. Then were they constrained in a stable to lye,
Where horses and asses6a they us'd for to tie;
Their lodging so simple they held it no scorn,
But against the next morning our Saviour was born. Refrain

5. The King of all kings7 to this world being brought,
Small store of fine linen to wrap him was sought,
And when she8 had swaddled her young son so sweet,
Within an ox manger she laid him to sleep. Refrain

6. Then God sent an Angel from Heaven so high,
To certain poor Shepherds in fields where they lye,
And bade9 them no longer in sorrow to stay,
Because that our Saviour was born on this day. Refrain

7. Then presently after the Shepherds did spy
A number of Angels that stood10 in the sky;
Who joyfully talked and sweetly did sing,
To God be all glory our Heavenly King. Refrain

Sandys added this verse, which was not found in Gilbert, 1822 or 1823.

8. Three certain Wise Princes, they thought it most meet
To lay their rich offerings at our Saviourís feet;
Then the Shepherds consented, and to Bethlehem did go,
And when they came thither, they found it was so. Refrain

Notes:

1. Or: Savior or Babe Return

2. Or: has brought forth a baby, or had wrapt us all in. Return

3. Or:

Rejoice and be merry, set sorrow aside;
Christ Jesus our Savior was born on this tide. Return

4. Or: Judah OR Jury Return

5. Or: In Bethlehem in Jewry, it was Return

5a. Or: far Return

6. Or: Could get in the City there OR Could procure in the inn Return

6a. Or: Where oxen and asses ... Return

7. Or: Kings, or The King of all glory. Return

8. Or But when Mary Ö Return

9. Or: charged OR bid Return

10. Or. appear Return

Sheet Music from Davies Gilbert, Some Ancient Christmas Carols (London: John Nichols And Son, First Edition, 1822)

Gilbert_A-Virgin-01_1822.jpg (61197 bytes) Gilbert_A-Virgin-02_1822.jpg (63599 bytes)

Sheet Music from Davies Gilbert, Some Ancient Christmas Carols. London: John Nichols And Son, Second Edition, 1823, Carol #3.

Also found in William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), p. 61.

music01.gif (315959 bytes)

Sandys' Note Concerning References in Verse 4:

"Where oxen and asses." The common tradition of the ox and the ass in the manger is not mentioned in the New Testament, but is supported by man of the early fathers. The Bee Hive of the Romish Church (p. 198. b.) says, that the idea is taken from Isaiah, chap. i. v. 3. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib."

Also found in William Sandys, Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music (London: John Russell Smith, 1852), pp. 254-5.

Sheet Music from Richard R. Terry, Gilbert and Sandys' Christmas Carols (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1931)

"Traditional words and melody (in the Seventh Mode) from 'Some Ancient Christmas Carols,' by Davies Gilbert, 1822."
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF /
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Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), pp. 12-13.

Gilbert

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Sandys

004a-A_Virgin_Most_Pure-V2.jpg (169007 bytes) 004b-A_Virgin_Most_Pure-V2.jpg (122519 bytes)

"Words and Melody from Sandys, 'Christmas Carols,' 1833"

 

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Richard R. Terry, Gilbert and Sandys' Christmas Carols

A Virgin Most Pure - Gilbert

Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New

A Virgin Most Pure - Hutchins

Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church

A Virgin Most Pure - Chope

George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book

A Virgin Most Pure - Woodward

William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity

A Virgin Most Pure - Husk

Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book

A Virgin Most Pure - Shaw & Dearmer

W. A. Pickard-Cambridge, A Collection of Dorset Carols

A Virgin Most Pure - Pickard-Cambridge

Ralph Dunstan, The Cornish Song Book

A Virgin Most Pure - Dunstan

 Edward F. Rimbault, A Little Book of Christmas Carols

A Virgin Most Pure - Rimbault

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