The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Come All You Worthy Gentlemen

Title: "A Christmas Carol"

Words and Music: English Traditional from Mr. Rapsey, of Bridgwater, Somerset

Cecil J. Sharp, ed., Folk Songs From Somerset. Series V. Second Edition. (London: Simpkin & Co., Ltd., 1909), #CXXVI, A Christmas Carol, pp. 68-69. Notes on the Songs, p. 91.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

1 Come all you worthy gentlemen
That may be standing by,
Christ our Blessed Saviour
Was born on Christmas Day.
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Unto the Lord did say.
O we wish you the comfort and tidings of joy !

2 Christ our Blessed Saviour
Now in the manger layŚ
He's lying in the manger,
While the oxen feed on hay.
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Unto the Lord did say.
O we wish you the comfort and tidings of joy !

3 God bless the ruler of this house,
And long on may he reign,
Many happy Christmases
He live to see again !
God bless our generation,
Who live both far and near
And we wish them a Happy, a Happy New Year!

Notes from Mr. Sharp, p. 91.

No. 126. A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Words and air from Mr. Rapsey, of Bridgwater.

No variants. Mr. Rapsey told me that he learned this carol from his mother, and that when he was a lad. he used to go round Bridgwater in company with other boys at Christmas time singing it.

It is, apparently, a shortened version of the well known carol "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" given in Sandys (p. 102) and elsewhere. Mr. Rapsey's words were not very clear and I was compelled to amend them in one or two places, but they appear in the text substantially as he sang them. The word " say " in the penultimate lines of the first two verses I was at first inclined to regard as a corruption for " pray," which is the usual reading. But the Rev. Allen Brockington thought that " say " was merely used intransitively, as is not unusual in Somerset, for " talk," i.e. "prattle." As this is at least a possible explanation I have retained the word that Mr. Say sang.

Sheet Music From Cecil J. Sharp, ed., Folk Songs From Somerset. Series V. Second Edition. (London: Simpkin & Co., Ltd., 1909), #CXXVI, A Christmas Carol, pp. 68-69.

Come_Worthy_GMen-Sharp-Somerset-V-68.jpg (80498 bytes) Come_Worthy_GMen-Sharp-Somerset-V-69.jpg (26641 bytes)

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