The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Dives and Lazarus

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from Notes and Queries, Ser. 4, vol. iii, 76.

Music: "Lazarus"; the tune noted by A. J. Hipkins, Esq., F.S.A., in Westminster

Source: Lucy E. Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Country Songs. (London: The Leadenhall Press, 1893), pp. 102-103.

See: Bramley and Stainer, Dives and Lazarus, with Notes.

A Carol of Diverus1 and Lazarus.

Sung by Carol-Singers at Christmas in Worcestershire, at Hagley and Hartlebury, 1829-1839.

1 As it fell out upon one day.
     Rich Diverus he made a feast;
And he invited all his friends,
     And gentry of the best.
And it fell out upon one day,
     Poor Lazarus he was so poor,
He came and laid him down and down,
     Ev'n down at Diverus' door.

2 So Lazarus laid him down and down,
     Ev'n down at Diverus' door;
" Some meat, some drink, brother Diverus,
     Do bestow upon the poor."
"Thou art none of mine, brother Lazarus,2
    
Lying begging at my door,
No meat, no drink will I
give thee,
     Nor bestow upon the poor."

3 Then Lazarus laid him down and down,
     Ev'n down at Diverus' wall;
" Some meat, some drink, brother Diverus,
     Or surely starve I shall"
"Thou art none of mine, brother Lazarus,
     Lying begging at my wall;
No meat, no drink will I give thee,
     And therefore starve thou shall."

4 Then Lazarus laid him down and down,
     Ev'n down at Diverus' gate;
" Some meat, some drink, brother Diverus,
     For Jesus Christ his sake."
" Thou art none of mine, brother Lazarus,
     Lying begging at my gate,
No meat, no drink will I give thee,
     For Jesus Christ his sake."

5 Then Diverus sent his merry men all,
     To whip poor Lazarus away;
They had not power to whip one whip,
     But threw their whips away.
Then Diverus sent out his hungry dogs,
     To bite poor Lazarus away;
They had not power to bite one bite,
     But licked his sores away.

6 And it fell out upon one day,
     Poor Lazarus he sickened and died ;
There came two angels out of heaven,
     His soul thereto to guide.
" Rise up, rise up, brother Lazarus,
     And come along with me,
There is a place prepared in heaven,
     For to sit upon an angel's knee."

7 And it fell out upon one day,
     Rich Diverus sickened and died;
There came two serpents out of hell
     His soul thereto to guide.
Rise up, rise up, brother Diverus,
     And come along with me ;
There is a place prepared in hell,
     For to sit upon a serpent's knee."3

Footnotes from F.S.L. in Notes and Queries:

1. "Diverus" always; never "Dives." Return

2. Always so sung; not "Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus." Return

3. In the later years this line was sometimes changed for --

"From which thou canst not flee";

but the original form was as given.

The carol invariably ended here, but it is surely only a fragment. Return

Sheet Music from Broadwood and Fuller-Maitland
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Notes from Broadwood and Fuller Maitland:

"The tune noted by A. J. Hipkins, Esq., F.S.A., in Westminster;
the words from Notes and Queries, Ser. 4, vol. iii, 76."

It is not claimed that these words belong too the beautiful tune here given ["Lazarus"], but they suit it so well that there is a great probability of their having at one time been associated together. Mr. Hipkins knew no words for the tune, but has known it for many years under the name "Lazarus:" it was also recognized as the tune belonging to a song referring to the same subject, by an old woman in Westminster, in December, 1892.

The last verse is quoted by Hone (Every Day Book, vol. i., p. 1598) as being still sung in 1826 in Warwickshire.

The writer in Notes and Queries who gives it in extenso, as above, calls it a Worcestershire Carol. See also Husk's Songs of the Nativity, "Dives and Lazarus," where three more stanzas are given. [See verses 14-16 in Dives and Lazarus - Husk.]

In the above version the form Diverus is always sung; and the same form is alluded to in Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas (1639).

In Beaumont and Fletcher's Nice Valour, act iv., sc. 1, "Dives" is spoken of as one of the ballads hanging at church corners. The tune should be compared with ''The Thresher" (p. 68), and with "Cold blows the wind" (p. 34), as well as with "We are frozen-out gardeners'' in Chappell's Popular Music. The tune strongly resembles "Gilderoy," see notes to" Cold blows the wind " (p. 34).

Entry in Notes and Queries, 4th Series Vol. 3, Jan. 23, 1869, Pages 75-76.

A Worcestershire Carol

I forward a copy, from memory, of one of our Worcestershire ballads. This is a carol, or was sung for one, and every village child knew it thirty to forty years ago. I once saw it (about 1833) on a hawker's broadsheet, but have never seen it since; and of late years the clergy have been discouraging carol-singing of this kind.

There were other religious ballads sung in the same way at Christmas, (which I suppose, like this one) to have belonged to a time previous to the Reformation. One, I remember, began

"Joseph was an hoary man, and a hoary man was he,
And he married Mary, the Queen of Galilee;"

But this was prohibited, and was always stopped in the houses, with very good reason, judging from a chance couplet I remember to have heard in it.

All the old ballads and songs are dying out now, and many may be lost if they are not printed from memory in our own time.

F.S.L.

Editor's Notes:

The entry in Notes and Queries noted "As sung by Carol-Singers at Christmas in Worcestershire, at Hogley and Hurthbury, 1829-1839." The notice was posted by "F. S. L." Notes and Queries, 4th Series, Volume III, Jan. 23, 1869, pp. 75-76, "A Carol of Diverus and Lazarus."

Notes_and_Queries_-_Series_4_-_Volume_3_-_p75.jpg (81513 bytes) Notes_and_Queries_-_Series_4_-_Volume_3_-_p76.djvu.jpg (250987 bytes)

Also in seven stanzas of eight-lines is Dives and Lazarus, a version printed by Richard R. Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols, however, the words are different.

Copies of this carol on this web site:

Contrast this carol with a similar name and theme:

See also: Broadsides with Dives and Lazarus

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