The Black Decree
Alternate Title: Let Christians All With One Accord Rejoice
#45 on Hone's List of 89 Carols Printed
Printed by J. Gibbs, Printer, Ledbury
1. Let Christians all with one accord rejoice,
And praises sing, with heart as well as voice,
To God on high, for glorious things done,
In sending to us His beloved Son.
2. That blessed Babe and holy Child of love
Came down from heaven that we reign above:
The happy news did come on angels' wings,
Of our redemption by the King of kings.
3. An earthly wonder not to be denied
Born of a Virgin mother and a bride;
Not like a prince, in worldly pomp and state,
But poor and low, to make us heavenly great.
4. No costly silks, no robes of rich attire,
Nor gaudy show, which rich ones do admire;
But in a manger the great Lord of life
Was nourished by a mother, maid, and wife.
5. Three wise-men by a star were thither brought,
And found the blessed Babe they long had sought
The best of spices and rich costly things
They humbly offered to the King of kings.
6. And rather than the Lord of life betray
They worshipped Him and went another way:
Which so enraged the wicked Herod then,
(A Jewish king, but very worse of men).
7. He caused young harmless infants to be killed;
And under two years old, their blood was spilled;
Sad cries and groans were heard in every street,
With mangled bodies, bleeding hands an feet.
8. The Black Decree went all the country round,
To kill and murder children sick and sound:
They tore young children from their mothers' breast,
Thinking to murder Christ among the rest.
9. But God above, Who knew what would be done,
Had sent to Egypt His beloved Son;
Where with His earthly parents He was fed,
Until the bloody tyrant he was dead.
10. What dangers and
hazards he did ???
Both day & night, least we should be und????
What pains and labours did not Christ endure,
To save our souls, and happiness secure!
[the first two lines of 13 become the last two lines].
11. Was always doing good,
to let us see.
By his example what we ought to be;
He made he blind to see, the lame to go,
And raised the dead, who none but God could
[the first two lines of 14 become the last two lines, although some words changed]
12. 5,000 hungry souls by
him were fed,
Out of two small fishes and a loaves of bread,
Sufficient plenty, and a welcome treat,
Each guest with thanks and praises eat.
[First two lines are the last two from verse 15; the last two lines are the first two of verse 16]
13. But yet for all the
wonders he had wrought
Ungrateful Jews still his destruction sought,
That their wicked purpose might not miss,
Bribed Judas to betray him with a kiss.
[First two lines are the last two from verse 17; the last two lines are the first two of verse 18]
14. Which done, away they haulded him then,
And used him as the worst of men
Spit in his face with reproachful scorns,
But upon his head a crown of thorns.
[First two lines are the last two from verse 18; the last two lines are the first two of verse 19]
Verse 15. Cried with one voice,
would not be denied,
To Pilate that He be crucified.
This wicked judge, in base injustice now,
To please the crowd, did their request allow,
[First two lines are the last two from verse 19; the last two lines are the first two of verse 20]
16. Against his conscience
he, to end the strife,
Condemned the blessed Lord of life.
Then to the cross saviour of mankind
Was led a harmless Lamb as was designed
[First two lines are the last two from verse 20; the last two lines are the first two of verse 21]
17. To save our souls,
condemned by Adam's fall,
Without whose death we are ruined all.
His blessed hands and feet with bitter pain,
Were nailed to the tree with sad distain;
[First two lines are the last two from verse 21; the last two lines are the first two of verse 22]
18. With spears they
pierced his tender skin,
And out came blood to wash away our sin.
Thus blessed Jesus freely did resign
His God-like life to save both thine and mine.
[First two lines are the last two from verse 22; the last two lines are the first two of verse 23]
Broadside Harding B 16(341a), ca. 1820-1830s.
This is Broadside #1 (of 7) from search of Roud Number 2429 at the Bodleian Library, “Broadside Ballads Online” web site (Edition - Bod11412). This broadside was from the Harding B 16(341a) collection. The printer was James Gibbs of Ledbury at an unknown date, but likely between 1820 and early 1830 (and possibly later). This version consisted of 18 verses. The copy was difficult to read; in a number of cases, the words were filled in by referring to the Bramley and Stainer version, [The Black Decree - Version 1.]
Mr. James Gibbs, Sr., was knwn to be in business in the 1820s and early 1830s in Ledbury. Only a few of his broadsides survived, all with the imprint “J. Gibbs, Printer, Ledbury.” His son, James Gibbs, Junior, is believed to have completed his apprenticeship in 1827, and would after that time be able to take over from him. He works as a printer from the 1820s through the 1850s. His broadsides are imprinted: “Printed by J. Gibbs, Jun.” He died in 1859.
The source for most of this information was an article written by Roy Palmer, “Ballad Printers of Herefordshire 2: Roy Palmer,” published in “Folklife West Journal,” Nº7, 1 Jan. 2011, pages J-4 & J-5, copyright 2012 Roy Palmer.
One of Junior's was: The Bosbury Carol (When we were all, through Adam’s fall) Hereford City Library, Davies Collection, vol. 1, fol. 285.
Versions on this web site:
The Black Decree - Version 1 - Bramley and Stainer, ca. 1878, with Notes. For the Feast of the Holy Infants. [This file]
The Black Decree - Version 3 - Chope, 1894. 6 verses, with chorus. For Epiphany.
The Black Decree - Version 4 - Rodda, 1870. 3 verses, with chorus. For Christmas.
The Black Decree - Version 8 - A Shropshire Version.
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