The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Upon Christmas Day In The Morning

Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)

1. Upon Christmas day in the morning,
     Upon Christmas day in the morning,
O then was born our Heavenly King:
Good Lord was not this a joyful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name.

Burden
The Babe was born in Bethlehem,
The Babe was born in Bethlehem,
All the world rejoice and sing,
    Sweet Jesus is his name.

2. Upon New Year's day in the morning,
     Upon New Year's day in the morning,
O then was circumcis'd our Heavenly King:
Good Lord, was not this a joyful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

3. Upon Candlemas day in the morning,
     Upon Candlemas day in the morning,
Our blessed Lady kept her purifying:
Good Lord, was not this a joyful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

4. Upon Shrove Sunday in the morning,
     Upon Shrove Sunday in the morning,
The Jews held counsel 'gainst our Heavenly King:
Good Lord, was not this a sorrowful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

5. Upon Good Friday in the morning,
     Upon Good Friday in the morning,
The Jews put to death our Heavenly King:
Good Lord, was not this a woful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

6. O let us rejoice amain,
     O let us rejoice amain,
Although he suffer'd bitter pain,
Upon the third day he rose again:
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

7. Upon Easter day in the morning,
     Upon Easter day in the morning,
Then arose from death our Heavenly King:
Good Lord, was not this a joyful thing?
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

8. Then into Heaven ascended he,
     Then into Heaven ascended he,
There to live with God in glory,
With whom God send us all to be:
    Sweet Jesus is his name. Burden

Editor's Note:

In the earliest versions, the "Chorus" properly speaking the "Burden" or "Burthen" is sung before the first verse, as well as after each verse throughout the song. This stems from the days when a carol was a dancing song. While the "caller" was singing the Burden, the dancers were dancing, but while the caller was singing the verses, the dancer stood in place, marking time. These dances resembled the modern line dance or square dance.

When this carol is printed Burden-Verse-Burden, sometimes the name of the carol will be the first line of the burden, not the first line of the verse, which is the usual convention. Thus, in this case, we can find the carol under two names: (1) Upon Christmas Day in the Morning, or (2) "The Babe Was Born In Bethlehem."

This carol celebrates events beyond the Christmas-tide, going from His birth to His Ascension.

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. It gets its name from the blessing of candles that will be used in the church for the upcoming year.

"Shrove Sunday" was the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It was also called Quinquagesima Sunday, Quinquagesimae, or Estomihi. "Quinquagesima" Sunday, together with Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays, is no longer in the liturgical calendar of most churches.

In some versions, line 3 of verse 6 reads:

Although *that* he suffer'd bitter pain,

This version is very true to the oldest version I've seen, the one that was printed in "New Carolls For This Merry Time of Christmas" (1661).

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