The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Cherry Tree

First Version


Words and Music: English Traditional


Compare: The Cherry Tree - Version 2
See generally: The Cherry Tree Carol - Notes


Source: Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk-Carols (London: Novello & Co., Ltd., 1911), pp. 7-8.

1. Joseph was an old man
And an old man was he;
And Joseph married Mary,
The Queen of Galilee.

2. Mary and Joseph
Together did go,
And there they saw a cherry tree,
Both red, white and green.

3. Then up speaks Mary,
So meek and so mild:
O gather me cherries, Joseph,
For I am with child.

4. Then up speaks Joseph
With his words so unkind:
Let them gather thee cherries
That brought thee with child.

5. Then up speaks the little Child
In his own mother's womb:
Bow down, you sweet cherry tree,
And give my mother some.

6. The the top spray of the cherry tree
Bowed down to her knee:
And now you see, Joseph,
There are cherries for me.

Sheet Music From Sharp

Notes from Sharp, p. 61:

Sung by Mrs. Mary Anne Clayton, at Chipping Campden.

Mrs. Clayton gave me the words of the first stanza only. The remaining stanzas were sung to me by Mrs. Anne Roberts at Winchcombe (Gloucestershire) to a different tune. The words in the text have not been altered.

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