The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As I Sat On A Sunny Bank

For Christmas Day

Version 1

Traditional English
To The Tune of I Saw Three Ships

1. As I sat on a sunny bank,
    A sunny bank, a sunny bank,
As I sat on a sunny bank
    On Christmas Day in the morning.

2. I saw three ships come sailing in, (etc)

3. And who do you think was in them then
But Joseph and his fair lady!

4. O he did whistle and she did sing, (etc)

5. And all the bells on earth did ring, (etc)

6. And all the angels in heaven did sing (etc)

On Christmas Day in the morning.

Sheet Music from Ralph Dunstan, The Cornish Song Book (London: Reid Bros., Ltd., 1929), p. 84.
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Dr. Dunstan gives first four verses as above. But he then adds: "Alternative verses probably much more modern after verse 3."

4. Pray whither sail'd those ships all three, (etc)

5. Oh! they sail'd into Bethlehem, (etc)

6. And all the bells on earth shall ring, (etc)

7. And all the Angels in Heav'n shall sing, (etc)

8. And all the souls on earth shall sing, (etc)

9. Then let us all rejoice amain, (etc)

Versions On This Web Site:


In his notes concerning I Saw Three Ships, William Sandys [Table of Contents] makes this observation:

There is also a printed broadside carol, very similar to this, of which the last verse is rather quaint. -- Joseph and his "fair lady" being in the ships,

O he did whistle, and she did sing,
And all the bells on earth did ring,
For joy that our Saviour he was born
On Christmas-day in the morning.

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