The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

New Year's Carol

Words and Music: English Traditional

 

Source: Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk-Carols (London: Novello & Co., Ltd., 1911), pp. 51-4.

1. AWAKE! Awake! ye drowsy souls
And hear what I shall tell
Remember Christ, the Lamb of God,
Redeemed our souls from hell.
He’s crowned with thorns, spit on with scorn,
The Jews have hid themselves.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

2. They bound Christ’s body to a tree,
And wounded Him full sore;
From every wound the blood ran down
Till Christ could bleed no more
His dying wounds, all rent and tore,
Were covered with pearly gore.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

3. And when the Jews had murdered Christ
And shown their cruel spite,
The sun and moon did hide their heads
And went in mourning straight.
The heavens stood amazed, and angels gazed,
And the earth it was darkened quite.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

4. And when Christ’s soul departed
And from His body fled,
The rocks did rend, the graves did ope
And then appeared the dead
All they that were there did quake for fear
And said it was the Son of God.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

5. Then Christ He called Thomas
And bid him : Come and see,1
And put thy fingers in the wounds
That are in my body
And be not faithless, but believe,
And happy shalt thou be.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

6. Then Christ called His disciples
And tried them over death
And said: All powers are given to you
In heaven and on earth
Go forth and teach all nations2
Despise you not my death.*3
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

    * Mr. Bates sang “Despising you of your rest.”

7. Go seek you every wandering sheep
That doth on earth remain,
Till I myself have paid your debts4
And turned you back again;
Come all ye heavy laden,5
I’ll ease you of your pain.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

8. It was early in one morning
That Mary did Him seek6
She saw two angels sitting
At Jesus’s head and feet.
Mary shed tears while Christ appeared,
And He said: Why dost thou weep?
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

9. God bless the ruler of this house
And send him long to reign
Let many a happy New Year
Go over his head again,
And all his godly family
That serveth the Lord so dear.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

10. God bless the mistress of this house,
With gold all round her breast,
And, let her body be asleep or awake,
Lord send her soul to rest,
And all her godly family
That serveth the Lord so dear.
So God send you all a joyful New Year.

Footnotes:

Although Mr. Bates has a remarkably good memory, in a few cases A Good Christmas Box gives a slightly different reading, as thus:

1. "And said 'Now come and see,'"  Return

2. "Therefore to teach all nations."  Return

3. "Dispise you not my death," (not the one given by Mr. Bates). Return

4. "Till Christ himself has paid your debts." Return

5. "All you that are heavy laden" Return

6. "As Mary did Him see." Return

The version given by A Good Christmas Box was sufficiently different than that given by Mr. Bates in the last two verses:

9. God bless the ruler of this house
And grant him long to reign
Send him to see many a good new year
Still unalloyed by pain,
And all his godly family
That loveth the Lord so dear.

10. God bless the mistress of this house,
With peace unto her breast,
And let her be asleep or awake,
O Lord, still give her rest,
And all her godly family
That serveth the Lord so dear.

Sheet Music From Sharp
MIDI / NWC / PDF

Notes from Sharp:

Sung by Mr. Seth Vandrell and Mr. Samuel Bradley of Donnington Wood, Shropshire.

The two singers, who sang in unison, could only remember the words of the first and the last stanzas. I also noted a variant from Mr. Samson Bates. The carol is printed in A Good Christmas Box, but, as unfortunately this particular page was missing from his copy, Mr. Bates was compelled to sing from memory. Nearly all the lines in the text have been taken from another chap-book (undated, printed by J. Bates, New Town, Bilston), but, in a few cases, I have adhered to the words that Mr. Bates sang. I do not know what the word “pearly” in the second stanza may mean. Mr. Bates could not explain it.

The tune is in the dorian mode and has affinities with the airs of "The Moon Shines Bright" (No. 5), and "God Bless You, Merry Gentlemen" (No. 6).

Also found in G. Walters, A Good Christmas Box (Dudley: G. Walters, 1847), pp. 11-12. This version included "So God send you all a New Year" only to the end of verse 1, and no other.

The phrase "pearly gore" occurs in the second stanza of the version printed here, without explanation.

Differences are footnoted above.

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