A Carol On The Birth Of Christ
Words: Thomas Tusser
Source: Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861)
1. Was not Christ our Saviour
Sent unto us from God above,
Not for our good behaviour,
But only of His mercy and love?
If this be true, as true it is,
Great thanks to God to yield for this
Then had we need.
2. This did our God for very troth,
To train to Him the soul of man,
And justly to perform his oath
To Sarah, and to Abraham, than
That through his seed, all nations should
Most blessed be,
And in due time performed, He would
All flesh should see.
3. Which wondrously is brougt to pass,
And in our sight already done,
By sending as His promise was
(To comfort us) His only Son,
Even Christ, I mean, that virgin's child
In Bethlehem born:
That Lamb of God, that Prophet mild,
With crowned thorn.
4. Such was His love, to save us all
From dangers of the curse of God,
That we stood in by Adam's fall,
And by our own deserved rod.
That through His blood and holy name,
All that believe,
And fly from sin, and abhor the same,
Shall grace receive.
5. For this glad news, this feast doth bring,
To God the Son and Holy Ghost,"
Let man give thanks, rejoice and sing,
From world to world, from coast to coast,
For other gifts in many ways,
That God doth send:
Let us in Christ give God the praise,
Till life shall end.
This carol was written by Thomas Tusser, the author of the well-known work on Husbandry. He was chorister and agriculturist by turns. The poems that he has left us are noted for their morality, piety, and benevolent simplicity. Tusser died in 1580.
Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvestre" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.
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