The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Virgin Most Pure

"A Christmas Carrol"

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional

Music: "Christmas Hymn" by William Knapp (1698-1768), 1744.

See: In Bethlehem City - Notes

Source: William Knapp, ed., Anthems for Christmas Day (London: Robert Brown, et al., 1744), pp. 20-21.

1. A Virgin most pure, as the Prophet foretold,
Should bring forth a Sav'our which now we behold,
To be our Redeemer from Death, Hell and Sin,
Which Adamís Transgression involved us in.

Refrain
Then let us be Merry, set Sorrow away,
Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this Day.

2. Through Bethlehem City, in Jury it was,
That Joseph and Mary together did pass;
And for to be Taxed, with Mary straightways,
Old Cśsar commanded, he quickly obeys.
       
Chorus: Then let us be Merry, &c.

3. But Mary's full Time being come, as we find,
She brought forth her First-born to serve all Mankind;
The Inn being full; for this Heavenly Guest,
No place there was found where to lay him to rest.
        Chorus. Then let us be Merry, &c.

4. But Mary, blest Mary, so meek and so mild,
Soon wrapt up in Swaddlings this Heavenly Child;
Contented, she laid him where Oxen did feed,
The great God of Nature approv'd of the Deed.
        Chorus. Then let us be Merry, &c.

5. To teach us Humility, all this was done,
Then learn we hence haughty pride for to shun;
A Manger's his Cradle, who came from Above,
Our great God of Mercy, of Peace and of Love.

        Chorus. Then let us be Merry, &c.

6. Then presently after, the Shepherds did spy
Vast Numbers of Angels to stand in the Sky;
So merrily Talking, so sweet they did Sing,
All Glory and Praise to our Heavenly King.
        Then let us be
Merry, set Sorrow away,
        Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this Day.

Sheet Music "Christmas Hymn" by William Knapp from William Knapp, ed., Anthems for Christmas Day (London: Robert Brown, et al., 1744), pp. 20-21.

A_Virgin_Most_Pure-Knapp-1743-20.jpg (103604 bytes) A_Virgin_Most_Pure-Knapp-1743-21.jpg (95859 bytes)

Note:

This is the earliest known appearance of this form of the carol, "In Bethlehem City."

Free sheet music is available for this piece for non-commercial use from Roding Music, both vocals and vocals with keyboard. The Christmas Carols page has links to this and other carols sung in the West Galley tradition.

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