The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Sons of Levi

For Christmas.

Words and Music: English Traditional from Kent

Source: Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk-Carols (London: Novello & Co., Ltd., 1911), pp. 38-9.

1. Come all you knights, you knights of honour,
For the wars have just begun,
That you may shine in your armour bright
All in the New Jerusalem.

And we are the true born sons of Levi,
Very few with us compare,
For we are the root and the branch of David,
By the bright and the glorious star.

2. It was in Gilgal that Moses wandered,
Playing on his musical horn,
It was in Gilgal that Moses was quartered
Where he left his holy mark.

And we are the true born sons of Levi,
Very few with us compare,
For we are the root and the branch of David,
By the bright and the glorious star.

3. It was in Gilgal that Moses wandered
Near unto the place thatís good,
Where he smote the waters of the Egyptians
And turned the Jordan into blood.

And we are the true born sons of Levi,
Very few with us compare,
For we are the root and the branch of David,
By the bright and the glorious star.

4. Broad is the path that leads to ruin,
Many walk that way therein
It will take you to that sinful Temple,
The place thatís burdened with sin.

And we are the true born sons of Levi,
Very few with us compare,
For we are the root and the branch of David,
By the bright and the glorious star.

5. Narrow is the path that leads to Heaven,
Very few that walk therein
It will take you to that holy Temple,
The very place that is free from sin.

And we are the true born sons of Levi,
Very few with us compare,
For we are the root and the branch of David,
By the bright and the glorious star.

Sheet Music From Sharp, English-Folk Carols (1911)
MIDI / NWC / PDF

Sheet Music From Cecil J. Sharp, Folk-Song Carols (London: Novello and Company, Ltd., 1913), No. 1182, pp. 18-19. Novello's School Songs, Book #245, edited by W. G. McNaught.

sons_levi-01-folk_song_carols-18-1913.jpg (78363 bytes) sons_levi-02-folk_song_carols-19-1913.jpg (65410 bytes)

Notes from Sharp:

Sung by Mr. James Beale and Mrs. Harding at Ham Street.

The words are obviously very corrupt. The first and the last two stanzas in the text are substantially as they were sung to me, but it has been necessary to make some small alterations in the other two stanzas. In making these changes I have been guided by a broadside version of the song printed by J. Nicholson of Belfast, which however, in some places is almost as unintelligible as the Ham Street version. The Irish broadside is a Masonic song in nine stanzas beginning thus:

Come all you Craftsmen that do wish
To propagate the grand design,
Come, enter into our high temple
And learn the art that is divine.

The last two stanzas given me at Ham Street are not in the broadside.

This carol is, and has been for many years, annually sung at Christmas in Ham Street and the neighbouring villages by a party of male carol singers. I have not found or heard of it elsewhere; nor can I connect the air, which is a strong one, with any other English folk-tune.

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