The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Hark, O Hark, Methinks I Hear A Voice

For Christmas & The New Year

Words & Music: English Traditional

A Looking Glass For All True Christians, Pepys 2.47
 The Pepys Collection
Located at English Broadside Ballad Archive
University of California, Santa Barbara

Printed for J. Wright J. Clarke W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, ca. 1681-1684.


A Looking-Glass for all true Christians,

Very useful and necessary for all people of what degree soever, to look upon in these
trouble-some times of sorrow. The Tune is, Aim not too high.
An alternate tune is
"Fortune my Foe"

O Hark, O hark, methinks I hear a voice,
Which said, the Lord made Man for his own choice,
And yet he will not reconciled be,
To leave his sins and to live righteously,
Awake, awake, thou mortal man from sleep,
Repent thy sin, cry to the Lord and weep;
For it is he that only must thee save,
Do thou repent, and mercy thou shalt have.
Remember Man that thou art made of Clay,
And in this Land thou art not long to stay;
Then lead thy life while thou dost here remain,
That being dead, thy Soul may Heaven gain.
If thou the Lord dost fear that rules the sky,
And put'st thy trust in him that sits on high:
Thou needst not doubt by God will thee defend,
And bring thee to a true and faithfull end.
But we too much delight in wicked ways,
And do not yield unto the Lord due praise;
If we do think his mercys for to gain,
We must then think his mercys to obtan.
What wicked vice hath been in former time,
Which in our Land doth now begin to climb;
Therefore with Nineve let us repent,
The Lord to us his Messenger hath sent.
But all these warnings will not serve our turn
To make us leave our sins with speed and mourn
But we do still offend the Lord of might,
And still we follow pleasure and delight.

Here every Man takes care to please his mind,
And seeks not for the Living God to find;
The which they will repent when 'tis too late,
When they shall ask God mercy at his gate.
We all do seek for worldly wealth and pleasure,
And not to have store laid up in treasure;
Some do not think upon the world to come;
And therefore still a wicked course do run.
The Lawyer he doth think upon his fee,
The Usurer Likewise on his money;
The Glutton he thinks on his dainty Chear,
The Drunkard on his Tobacco and Beer.
And many grievous sinners more there are,
And for to speak of all I do not dare;
But God alone that knows the hearts of all,
Will bring them all together great and small.
And when that day to many doth appear,
And see the Lord in judgment, then I fear
Too late it will be for them to repent,
With sorrow then their grief will still augment.
Good Lord that men would but conceive aright,
And fear the living God, the God of might;
Then would they not be bent so much to sin,
But now would seek a new life to begin.
O Lord my God to thee I make my moan,
Desiring that thy favour may by shown:
And as we have offended thee full sore,
Give us thy Grace, we may do so no more.

MY thoughts tell me that I have done amiss
And now I seek for favour and redress;
Of thee sweet Lord I here do pardon ask,
That I may please thee well in this my task:
Methinks I see the Land is full of Pride,
And also bent on covetousness beside:
Which is a thing that doth offend the Lord,
In Scripture we do find it is abhor'd.
Then now let us prepare our hearts to live,
And to the Lord let us our Prayers give;
And then no doubt but he will have respect
To pardon us, our great and hainous fact.
The Lord doth say if a Sinner doth repent,
And turn him with a heart that'[?]s Penitent,
He will forgive him his offences past,
And will receive his Soul to him at last.
But we in Sin do flourish and remain,
And do not seek Gods favour to obtain;
We think not on the judgment day at last,
Neither take care untill the day is past.
And then too late it will be for us to pray,
When as the Soul from Body is away;
Therefore in time let us our selves amend,
That we may make a true and faithfull end
Methinks I see the poor in great distress,
The Rich to them do yield but small redress;
They do complain in wofull misery,
And few there be that do regard their cry.
Look what men give unto the poor and needy soul,
The Lord will pay agen to them ten fold
Do thou regard thy brother in distress,
No question thou shalt ever have the less:
But 'tis no wonder now at all to see,
Many like unto Judas for to be.

Who sell our Saviour Christ for gold or pay,
Like unto Judas who did him betray;
If that a man could think upon his death,
Whilst he doth think upon the earth beneath;
He could not chuse but fear the Lord on high,
That made the earth, the Sea, and eke the sky.
We lately have ill fortune us befall,
The which is like to be a grief to all;
True Loyall Subjects to our Royal King,
Did turn our joys in sorrow for to sing;
Which is a token of our great offence,
And just reward of our sins recompence;
Because the Lord hath justly took occasion
To make us yield by this his kind perswasion.
Remember how Jerusalem did fall,
And how their enemies did them inthrall;
Which were but righteous judgments from the Lord
Because his holy word shall be abbor'd.
The Ninevites we read did soon repent,
When God the Prophet Jonah to them sent,
Then why should we who have the Gospel sure
Still seek our own Destruction to procure?
Remember Man wha[t] wofull Torments be
Prepar'd in Hell as torments you may see.
The Pains are wofull to be thought upon,
Besides all this, they never will be done;
And other wise all those that fear the Lord,
And follow after his most holy Word:
Shall live with Christ in perfect joy and peace,
Where Heavenly Angels sing and never cease.
Now to conclude O Lord give us thy grace
That we may lead our lives in such a case,
That when we are departed hence away
We then may live in perfect peace and joy.


Some types of New Year's ballads were intended to spark the conscience, and were paired with Christmas ballads during these times, with the ultimate goal to be a reminder of the Second Advent (the Second Coming of Christ, and the subsequent Judgment). Examples of such ballads include:

Other New Year's Broadsides include:

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