The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Bethlehem City

For Christmas

English Traditional
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
From Mrs. Wilson, near King's Langley, Herts.

Lucy E. Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland, English Country Songs. London: The Leadenhall Press, 1893.

Compare: In Bethlehem City (1661) - from New Carolls for this Merry Time of Christmas

See: In Bethlehem City - Notes

1. In Bethlehem city, in Judea it was,
That Joseph and Mary together did pass,
All for to be taxed when thither they came,
For Caesar Augustus commanded the same.

    Chorus:
    Then let us be merry, cast sorrow away,
    Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this day.

2. But Mary's full time being come as we find,
She brought forth her first-born to save all mankind;
The inn being full of the heavenly Guest,
No place could she find to lay Him to rest. Chorus

3. Blest Mary, blest Mary, so meek and so mild,
All wrapped up in swathing this heavenly Child,
Contented she laid where oxen do feed,
The great God of nature approved of the deed. Chorus

4. To teach us humility all this was done,
To learn us from hence haughty pride for to shun
The manger His cradle Who came from above,
The great God of mercy, of peace and of love. Chorus

5. Then presently after the shepherds did spy,
Vast numbers of angels did stand in the sky;
So merry were talking, so sweetly did sing,
"All glory and praise to the heavenly King!"

Sheet Music from Broadwood and Fuller Maitland, English Country Songs.

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In Bethlehem City

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Note from Broadwood and Fuller Maitland:

Compare words and tune of "A Virgin Unspotted" (Herefordshire).

Editor's Note:

All are based on the original text of "In Bethlehem City" 13 stanzas of four lines in 11 meter which is thought to have been first published in New Carolls for this Merry Time of Christmas (London, 1661). Several tunes have been used including "Admiral Benbow;" a similar tune is in the highly influential Christmas Carols New and Old (Vol. III, ca. 1878) by Bramley and Stainer. The earliest tune was found in The Compleat Psalmodist (1741) by John Arnold, of Great Warley, Essex, in a four-part setting.

Also see A Virgin Most Pure, with notes.

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