The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Lord At First Had Adam Made

For Christmas Eve

Alternate Titles:
A Carol For Christmas Eve
The New Adam

Compare: The Lord At First Did Adam Make (Davies Gilbert)
See also A Carol For Christmas Eve (Bramley and Stainer)

Words: Traditional

Music: Traditional
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Based on score from Bramley & Stainer

Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), p. 67
Also found in William Sandys, Christmas-tide, Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music (London: John Russell Smith, 1852), pp. 263-5.

1. The Lord at first had Adam made
Out of the dust and clay,
And in his nostrils breathed life,
Eíen as the Scriptures say.1
And then in Edenís Paradise
He placed him to dwell,
That he within it should remain,
To dress and keep it well.

Chorus
Now let good Christians all begin
An holy life to live,1a
And to rejoice and merry be,
For this is Christmas Eve.

2. And thus within the garden he
Commanded was to stay;
And unto him in commandment2
These words the Lord did say:
The fruit that in the garden grows
To thee shall be for meat,
Except the tree in the midst thereof
Of which thou shall not eat. Chorus

3. For in the day thou dost it touch
Or dost it then come nigh,3
And if that thou dost eat thereof,
Then thou shalt surely die.
But Adam he did take no heed
To that same only thing,
But did transgress Godís holy laws,
And sore was wrapp't in sin. Chorus

4. Now mark the goodness of the Lord,
Which He to mankind bore;
His mercy soon He did extend,
Lost man for to restore:
And then, for to redeem our souls
From death, and hell, and thrall,
He said his own dear Son should come
The Saviour of us all. Chorus

5. Which promise now is brought to pass:
Christians believe it well:
And by the coming of Godís Son,
We are redeem'd from Hell.
So if we truly do believe,
And do the thing thatís right,
Then by His merits we at last
Shall live in Heaven bright. Chorus

6. Now, for the benefits that we
Enjoy from Heaven above,
Let us renounce all wickedness,
And life in perfect love.
Then shall we do Christ's own command,
Even his written word,
And when we die, in Heaven we shall
Enjoy our living Lord. Chorus

7. And now the tide is nigh at hand,
In which our Saviour came;
Let us rejoice and merry be
In keeping of the same;
Letís feed the poor and hungry sort,4
And such as do it crave;
And when we die, in Heaven be sure
Our reward we shall have. Chorus

Notes:

1. Or: As Holy Scriptures say: Return

1a. Or: A holier life to live. Return

2. Or: And we to him to statute good Return

3. Or: Or unto it come nigh. Return

4. Or:

Let's feed the poor and clothe the bare,
And love both great and small,
That when we die, to Heaven at last
Our Lord may bring us all. Return

Alternate Third Verse:

Now for the blessing we enjoy
Which are from heav'n above,
Let us renounce all wickedness,
And live in perfect love:
Then shall we do Christ's own command,
E'en his own written word
And when we die, in heaven shall
Enjoy our living Lord. Chorus

Sheet Music from Sandys, 1833

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Sheet Music from Sandys, 1852

Sheet Music from Richard R. Terry, Gilbert and Sandys' Christmas Carols (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1931)

Terry: Words and Music from Gilbert
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Terry: Words and Music from Sandys
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), pp. 4-5.

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Sheet Music from William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868), pp. 188-9.
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Sheet Music "West of England" from Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1894), Carol #2
Same as Hutchins, below.

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Carol-002b.gif (312494 bytes)

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #22
First Tune: Same as Hutchins, below.

First Tune
Same as Hutchins, below.

Second Tune
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Sheet Music from Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol #506
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF


Husk, William Henry, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868):

This seems peculiar to the West-country. It was printed by Davies Gilbert in his collection of "Ancient Christmas Carols, with the tunes to which they were formerly sung in the West of England;" first published in 1822. The carols in that collection, Mr. Gilbert says, were changed in churches on Christmas day, and in private houses on Christmas eve, throughout the West of England, up to the latter part of the late century (18th). He adds: "Christmas Day, like every other great festival, has prefixed to it in the Calendar a Vigil or Fast; and in Catholic countries Mass is still celebrated at midnight after Christmas Eve, when austerities cease, and rejoicing of all kinds succeed. Shadows of these customs were, till very lately, preserved in the Protestant West of England. The day of Christmas Eve passed in an ordinary manner; but at seven or eight o'clock in the evening cakes were drawn hot from the oven; cyder or beer exhilarated the spirits in every house; and the singing of carols was continued late into the night. On Christmas Day these carols took the place of psalms in all the Churches, especially at afternoon service, the whole congregation joining; and at the end it was usual for the parish clerk to declare, in a loud voice, his wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all the parishioners." Rude thought it be, the simplicity and earnestness of this carol render it very characteristic and pleasing.

William Hone, Ancient Mysteries Described (1823):

Since this sheet was at the printer's, Gilbert Davies, Esq. R.F.S., F.A.S., &c. has published eight 'Ancient Christmas Carols with the tunes to which they were formerly sung in the West of England.' This is a laudable and successful effort to rescue from oblivion some carol melodies, which in a few years will be no more heard. Mr. Davies says, that 'on Christmas-day these carols took the place of psalms in all the churches, especially at afternoon service, the whole congregation joining: and at the end it was usual for the Parish Clerk, to declare in a loud voice, his wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy new year. A sentiment similar to that of the parish clerk's in the West of England, was expressed last year in a way that leaves little doubt of its former general adoption at the same season. Just before Christmas day, I was awakened in London at the dead of night, by the playing of the waits: on the conclusion of their solemn tunes, one of the performers exclaimed aloud, 'God bless you, my masters and mistresses, a merry Christmas to you, and a happy new year.'

Editor's Note:

This carol, with historical notes and two musical settings, is found in Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott, eds., The New Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, page 493 et seq. It is also found in Percy Dearmer, R. Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw, eds., The Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928, with both the tunes from Gilbert and Sandys (four verses: 1, 4, 6 (alt), 7). See also Ian Bradley, The Penguin Book of Carols. London: Penguin, 1999, Carol #79.

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