The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Bethlehem City

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958), "In Bethlehem City", 1950

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.

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.

3. Then they were constrained in a stable to lie
Where horses and asses they used for to tie.
Their lodging so simple the look in no scorn,
Our Saviour, Our Saviour was born!

4. Then God send an angel from Heaven so high
To certain poor shepherds in fields where they lie.
And bade them no longer in sorrow to stay
Because that our Saviour was born on this day.

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!"

Then let us be merry, cast sorrow aside,
Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this tide.

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