The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Lamentation

For Christmas

See: Christmas Is My Name, with notes

Text from the 17th Century Broadside from the Roxburghe Collection, 1.48-49

To the Tune of, Now The Spring Is Come

Printed at London for Francis Coles dwelling in the Old-Bayly, circa 1624 - 1680

Source: Christmas's Lamentation at English Broadside Ballad Archive


Christmas Lamentation,

For the losse of his Acquaintance, showing how he is forst to leave the
Country, and come to London. To the tune of, Now the Spring is come.

The First Part

Christmas is my name, farre have I gone,
Have I gone, have I gone, have I gone,
without regard.
Whereas great men by flockes there be flowne,
There be flown, there be flown, there be flowne,
to London-ward.
Where they in pomp, and pleasure doe waste,
That which Christmas was wonted to feast,
Houses where musicke was wont for to ring,
Nothing but Batts and Howlets doe sing,
    where should I stay.

Christmas beefe and bread, is turnd into stones,
Into stones, into stones, into stones,
and silken rags.
And Ladie money sleepes, and makes moanes,
And makes moanes, and makes moanes, and, etc.
in Misers Bags.
Houses where pleasures once did abound,
Nought but a Dogge and a Shepheard is found,
Places where Christmas Revells did keepe,
Is now become habitations for sheepe,
    where should I stay.

Pan the Shepeards god doth deface,
Doth deface, doth deface, doth deface,
Lady Ceres crowne.
And tillage that doth goe to decay,
To decay, to decay, to decay,
in every Towne.
Land-lords their rents so highly inhance,
That Pierce the Plow-man, bare foot may dance,
And Farmers that Christmas would entertain,
Have scarce where with themselves to maintain,
    where should I stay.

Come to the Country man, he will protest,
Will protest, will protest, will protest,
and of Bull Beefe lost.
And for the Citizen hee is so hot,
Is so hot, is so hot, is so hot,
he will burne the rost.
The Courtier he good deeds will not scorne,
Nor will he see poore Christmas forlorne,
Since none of these good deeds will doe,
Christmas had best turne Courtier too,
    where should I stay.


The second part. To the same Tune

Pride and luxury they doe devoure,
Doe devoure, doe devoure, doe devoure,
house-keeping quite.
And beggery that doth beget,
Doth beget, doth beget, doth beget,
in many a Knight.
Madam forsooth in her Coach she must wheell,
Although she weare her hose out at heele,
And on her backe weare that for a weed,
Which me and all my fellowes would feed,
    where should I stay.

Since pride that came up with yellow starch,
Yellow starch, yellow starch, yellow starch,
poore folkes doe want.
And nothing the rich men will to them give,
To them give, to them give, to them give,
but doe them taunt.
For charity from the Country is fled,
And in her place hath left nought but need,
And Corne is growne to so high a price,
It makes poore men cry with weeping eyes,
    where should I stay.

Briefely for to end, here I doe find,
I doe find, I doe find, I doe find,
so great vacation,
That most great houses seeme to attaine
To attaine, to attaine, to attaine.
a strong purgation.
Where purging pills, such effects they have shewed,
That forth of doores their owners have spewed,
And where as Christmas comes by and calls,
Nought but solitary and naked walls,
    where should I stay.

Phelomes cottage was turnd into gold,
Into gold, into gold, into gold,
for harboring Jove,
Rich men their houses for to keepe,
For to keepe, for to keepe, for to keepe,
might their greatnesse move.
But in the City they say they doe live,
Where gold by handfulls away they doe give,
Ile away.
And thither therefore I purpose to passe,
Hoping at London to finde the golden Asse,
Ile away.
Ile away.
Ile away.
for heres no stay.

There was no recording of this song at the Archive.

Editor's Note.

This carol can be found under several different but similar titles:

  • Christmas Lamentation (The Broadside in the Roxburghe collection)

  • Christmas' Lamentation (William Husk, Songs of the Nativity)

  • Christmas's Lamentation (Wm. Chappell, Popular Music in the Olden Time)

  • Christmas Is My Name (the first line)

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