The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Now Is Drawing Near At Hand

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

Christmas now is drawing near at Hand,
Serve the Lord, and be at his Command;
And for a Portion God he will provide,
And give a Blessing to your Souls beside.

Remember Man, that thou art made of Clay,
For in this World we have not long to stay;
This wicked World will never be content
With all the Gifts the Lord hath sent.

Down in the Garden, where Flowers grow in Ranks,
Down on your Knees, and give the Lord God Thanks;
Down on your Knees, and pray both Night and Day,
Leave off your Sins, and live Upright, I pray.

So proud and lofty is some Sort of Sin,
Which many take Delight and Pleasure in,
Which Conversation God he doth not like,
And yet he shakes his Sword before he strikes.

So proud and lofty do some People go,
Dressing themselves like Players in a Show,
They patch and they paint, and dress with idle Stuff,
As if God had not made them well enough.

For little Children learn to Curse and Swear,
And can't rehearse one Word of godly Prayer:
'Twas just in God that did prevent the Plot,
Concerning when our Throats were to be cut.


From Three new Christmas carols, Printed and sold in Aldermary Church Yard, London, circa 1770. Original is in the Bodleian Library. The other two carols begin with "A virgin most pure, as the prophets did tell," and "Rejoice and be merry, set sorrow aside," respectively.

This carol has appeared on other Broadsides. Birmingham Broadside Ballads reports:

Charles Watson (1826) Broadside: Christmas Carols. Carol I. The Virgin Unspotted (A virgin most purely). Carol II. Christmas at Hand (Christmas now is drawing near at hand). Carol III. While Shepherds (While shepherds watch). Carol IV. To Adam thus (To Adam thus Jehovah spake). Carol V. Rejoice & be Merry (Rejoice and be merry, set sorrow aside)

Watson became a well-to-do printer and newspaper proprietor. His main career was at 24 High Street (1831-32), 26 Church Street (1832-34), and 23 Temple Street (1845-54). He issued ballads only from his first and least salubrious address, Jamaica Row (1826), in what must have been his earliest venture. The sheets, in most cases headed Christmas Carols, have the manuscript annotation of 1826, though one additionally has 'Christmas Eve 1824'. All are in the Bodleian Library.

Variants of this carol occur, including:

Christmas_now_is_drawing_-_R_Butler.pdf:  An additional tune from Mrs. Reservoir Butler, Armscote, Worcestershire. It was noted by Cecil Sharp, June 17th 1913. Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol. V, No 18 (1914), p. 9.

An additional tune by a Mr. Waggoner, Pool-End, near Hereford, Herefordshire; noted by R. Vaughan Williams, Sept 1913. Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol V, No. 18 (1914) p 11:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols