The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

An Earthly Tree A Heavenly Fruit Is Bare

A Carol For Christmas Day

Words and Music: Unknown

Source: William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868)

Cast off all doubtful care,
    Exile and banish tears;
To joyful news divine
    Lend us your list'ning ears.

1. An earthly tree a heavenly fruit it bear,
A case of clay contained a crown immortal
A crown of crowns, a King whose cost and care
Redeemed poor man, whose race before was thrall
To death, to doom, to pains of everlasting,
By His sweet death, scorns, stripes, and often fasting.

2. A star above the stars, a sun of light,
Whose blessed beams this wretched earth bespread
With hope of heaven and of God's Son the sight,
Which in our flesh and sinful soul lay dead.
O faith, O hope, O joys renowned for ever,
O lively life that deathless shall persever.

3. Then let us sing the lullabys of sleep
To this sweet babe, born to awake us all
From drowsy sin that made old Adam weep,
And by his fault gave to mankind the fall.
For lo! this day, the birth day, day of days,
Summons our songs to give Him laud and praise.

Husk's Note:

This and the [preceding] carol [From Virgin's Womb This Day Did Spring] are taken from a rare musical publication bearing the title of "Songs of sundrie natures, some of grautie, and others of myrth, fit for all companies and voyces. Lately made and composed into Musicke of 3, 4, 5, and 5, parts: and published for the delight of all such as take pleasure in the exercise of that Art. By William Byrd, one of the Gentlemen of the Queenes Maiesties honorable Chappel. Imprinted at London by Thomas East, the assigne of William Byrd, and are to be sold at the house of the sayd T. East, being in Aldersgate streete, at the signe of the blacke Horse. 1589.Cum priuilegio RegiŠ Maiestatis." Each of the two pieces is designated, "A Carowle for Christmas day." ... Both this and the [preceeding] carol are here given from a copy of Byrd's work in the Library of the Sacred Harmonic Society. Neither has hitherto been reproduced in any collection of carols.

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