Christmas Now Is Drawing Near At Hand
Tune noted by Annie Webb.
Sung by Mr. Thomas Colcombe,
At Weobley, Herefordshire, 1904.
Source: Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol. 2, #34, p. 134.
now is drawing near at hand,
To serve the Lord, and be at His command,
For you a portion God will provide,
And give a blessing to your soul beside.
Oh,* remember, man, that thou art made of clay,
And in this world thou hast not long to stay.
Oh, this wicked world will never be content
With all the gifts that our great God hath sent.
Down in the garden, where flowers grow in ranks,
Down on your knees and give the Lord thanks.
Down on your knees, and pray both night and day ;
Leave off your sins, and praise the Lord alway.
How proud and lofty do the people go,
Dressing themselves, like lawyers in a show !
They patch and paint, and dress with idle stuff,
As if God had not made them fine enough.
But, remember, man, that thou art born to die,
And to the Judgment-seat thy soul must fly.
So let your sins be ever so great or small.
They must appear before the God of all.
So now sing praises to our God and King,
That did on earth this great salvation bring ;
Who laid down His life upon the cursed tree,
And died a cruel death upon Mount Calvary.
Sheet Music from the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol. 2, #34, p. 134.
*Mrs. [Emma] Leather, who kindly contributes this from her collection, writes that Mr. Colcombe puts in "Oh" when he has more notes than words.
Note in the Journal of the Folk Song Society
Compare this tune and the words with a version in Shropshire Folk-Lore (by Charlotte Burne), which was noted from the singing of gipsies habitually wandering through Shropshire and Staffordshire. Mrs. [Emma] Leather, who communicates these words, has also collected near Weobley the words of the carol " The Black Decree," sung to a variant of this widely-spread air. See "The Black Decree" in Stainer's Christmas Carols (Novello) where this tune is associated with the words, and both are called " traditional." Compare the tune with that to "Fountain of Christ's Blood," " Have you not heard," " The Iron Peel," and " Death and the Lady" in this journal. -- L. E. B.
"The Fountain of Christ's Blood"
"Have You Not Heard"
"The Iron Peel"
"Death and the Lady"
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