The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Dives And Lazarus

For Christmas

Words: John Mason Neale
See: Dives and Lazarus - Bramley and Stainer, With Notes and Sheet Music

Music: Written to a melody of the 16th century.

Source: Mary Sackville Lawson, Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), p. 308.

Now bring us in good cheer, good cheer
And for the blessed Christmas-tide, bring us in good cheer !

Whom shall I bid in then, that ye would rather choose,
Whom for the blessed Christmas-tide that ye would not refuse !
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Shall I bid the nobleman, that banquets in his state
With purple and fine linen, and gold and silver plate;
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Bid not in the nobleman, for he hath got enow;
But bring me in the ploughman, that liveth by the plough.
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Shall I bid in Dives—for it is very plain
If you give him a banquet, he'll banquet you again !
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Bid not hither Dives, for it shall ne'er be thus;
But go amongst the alleys, and fetch in Lazarus.
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Shall I bid the merchant, that hath upon the seas
His fleets of caravellos, and right great argosies !
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Bid not the merchant, but go and fetch the clerk
That sleepeth with the ban-dog, and riseth with the lark.
    Chorus—Now bring, etc.

Wherefore must I turn me from noble and from rich
And wherefore seek the poor man, that dwells in land and ditch ?
Lay thou to heart the reason ; because the King of all
Hath laid aside His riches, and is born in Bethlehem stall.
    (Chorus to last verse only.)

So best we make good cheer, so best we make good cheer
When for Christ Jesus' blessed sake, poor and maim'd are here.

Editor's Note.

According to a note in Dr. John Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology (1892), p. 212, the music was an air of the 15th Century, "Now Bring In Good Cheer."

The following text appeared in an advertisement in The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Volume 13, December 1, 1867, p. 235:

Just published, price 2d.
DIVES and LAZARUS, A Christmas Carol, written to an old Melody, by the late Rev. Dr. Neale (Not hitherto published), and arranged for Four Voices by Edmund Sedding. Masters.

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