The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now To Conclude Our Christmas Mirth

Song for Twelfth Day, Epiphany, Jan. 6

Author: Unknown

Tune: Song for Twelfth Day / Carol for Twelfth Day


The Kilmore Carols

Christmas Carols of Waddinge and Devereux

Source: Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols” from The Past, no. 5 (1949), pp. 96-98.

Now to conclude our Christmas mirth, With the news of our redemption,
we will end our songs on our Savour's birth, With the one that deserves attention.
Three great wonders fell on this day; a star brought Kings where the Infant lay,
Water made wine in Galilee, And Christ baptised in Jordan.

Those kings might have known what Balaam of old said of a star that would arise
In Jacob’s land, when he foretold the coming of the Messias.
Jaspar, Melchior and Baltazar set out when they saw the new bright star,
Leaving their eastern kingdoms far to find out the new-born Jesus.

They steered their course to the Jewish court, Jerusalem renowned;
Where to find Him they did not doubt, but met with a stranger crowned.
The tyrant Herod shocked at the news to hear of a new-born King of the Jews,
In dread the usurped crown to lose, ordered a bloody slaughter.

But for amends in this surprise those straying kings did visit
The Temple made by Solomon the Wise, the world had nothing like it.
Sapphires and gold there they could see, diamonds rich and ivory,
Embroidered silks and tapestry from both sides of the Indias.

Yet nothing rare or rich in art, not finding Him, could please them
They are told for Bethlehem to depart, no court toys could delay them.
Their guiding star again did appear and to the city straight did steer,
And over the stall resting most clear it bade the monarchs welcome.

Amazed to see the cottage poor, the stall where He was born,
They left their retinue at the door, though great, they entered without scorn;
The Blessed Babe and Mother found, laying their crowns and sceptres down,
Adored Him prostate on the ground and might have spoke as follows:

“O King of Kings herein disguise, Whom stars obey and angels serve.
Though wealth and grandeur You despise, You have given us more than we deserve.
Our beds are gold and ivory, our garments netted with broidery,
Beset with pearls and pageantry, whilst You lie in a stable.

“Here’s gold and myrrh and frankincense, not to enrich we bring,
But to honour Thee, O Heavenly Prince, as God and Man and King.
Incense to You as God is due, the gold shows kingly power too,
The myrrh keeps corpse long sweet and new; we have heard how You must suffer.”

And when the grand affair is done, the world from Hell redeemed,
When God has glorified His Son, at length by men esteemed,
Let our poor pagan nations in, and to Thy happy sheep-fold bring,
That free from blindness and from sin, we may in truth adore You.”

What else might have passed, you may conceive, in this fond conversation;
They bade farewell, taking their leave, home to their habitation.
Farewell good Christians, fare you well too, many Happy Christmases I wish you;
With a blessed end for to ensue, through the merits of Sweet Jesus.

Sheet Music "Song for Twelfth Day" from Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols,” p. 96.

Note from Joseph Ranson:

The air of this song was taken down from the singing of John Devereux and John Busher, by Miss Kathleen Hammel, Jan. 25, 1949.

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