The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Come Rejoice, All Good Christians

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

With a Similar Theme: Come, Christian Men, Let All Rejoice

Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), p. 99

1. Come rejoice, all good Christians,
    And rejoice now, I pray,
For joy our Redeemer
    Was born on this day,
In the city of David,
    And a cottage so poor:
Then rejoice and be your merry,
    We have blessings in store.

Chorus
And therefore be you merry,
Rejoice and be you merry,
    Set sorrows away,
Christ Jesus our Saviour
    Was born on this day.

2. Our Lord he was born
    Of a Virgin most pure,
Within a poor stable
    Both safe and secure.
He was guarded most safely
    With Angels so bright,
Who told three poor Shepherds
    Those things in the night. Chorus

3. They said, Be not fearful,
    But to Bethlehem go:
Then rejoice and be chearful,
    For 'tis certainly so.
For a young Son to Joseph
    Is in Bethlehem born:
Then rejoice, all good Christians,
    And cease for to mourn. Chorus

4. And when those three Shepherds
    Did to Bethlehem come,
And arrived at the stable,
    Then in they did run,
Where they found blessed Mary
    With Jesus her Son:
There they found our Lord sleeping,
    And thus they begun. Chorus

5. With the sweetest Hallelujah
    The Heavens did rejoice,
With the Saints and the Angels,
    And all with sweet voice,
Crying Glory and honour
    To our Heavenly King,
In the clouds of the air
    Then this Host they did sing. Chorus

6. Then well may we Christians,
    That dwell on the earth,
Rejoice and be glad
    For sweet Jesus his birth,
Who brought us salvation,
    If we mind but the same:
Then let all in the nation
    Sing praise to his name. Chorus

7. With true zeal and honour
    Let us joyfully sing,
In praise of our salvation,
    To our Heavenly King;
To our Heavenly Father,
    That remaineth above,
And to our dear Saviour,
    That redeem'd us with love. Chorus

Concerning the reference in the 4th verse to three shepherds, see Sandys' note in The First Nowell.

Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861):

Apart from their antiquity, the quaint simplicity of these lines is again the only recommendation that can be urged for giving them a place in this collection. This carol, which has long been a favorite, may be met with in most popular of street collections at the festive season.

Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity. London: John Camden Hotten, 1868, pp. 65-67:

This carol is believed to be of some antiquity. It is still reprinted in the broadsides issued at Christmas. The burden is nearly the same, it will be observed, as that of the West-country carol, "A Virgin Most Pure," and possibly the present carol had its birth in the same part of the country.

Also found in Thomas Wright, ed., Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (The Percy Society, 1841), #49, pp. 77-80, citing Sandys, p. 99.

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