The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Caesar Augustus

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

1. When Caesar August had rais'd a taxation,
He asset all the people that dwell in the nation;
The Jews at that time being under Rome's sway
Appear'd in the city their tribute to pay;
When Joseph and Mary, who from David did spring,
Went up to the city of David their King,
And there being enter'd cold welcome they find,
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

2. They sought entertainment, but none could they find.
Great numbers of strangers had filled the inn;
They knocked and called all this at the door,
But found not a friend where kind they had store;
Their kindred accounted they were come too soon,
Too late, said the innkeeper, here is no room.
Amongst strangers and kinsfolk cold welcome they find,
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

3. Good Joseph was troubled, but most for his dear,
For her blessed burden whose time now drew near;
His heart with true sorrow was sorely afficted
That his Virgin Spouse was so rudely neglected:
He could get no houseroom, who houses did frame,
But Joseph and Mary must go as they came;
For little is the favour the poor man can find,
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

4. Whilst the great and the wealthy do frolic in hall,
Possess all the groundrooms and chambers and all;
Whilst Joseph and Mary thrust into a stable
In Bethlehem city, ground inhospitable;
And with their mean lodging contended they be,
For the minds of the just with their fortunes agree,
They bear all affronts with their meekness of mind,
And be not offended tho' the rich be unkind.

5. No sooner was man betray'd into evil,
By the subtilty of Old Satan the Devil,
But God made a promise that the woman's seed,
In Jury now born, should bruise Satan's head.
O Bethlehem, Bethlehem, welcome this stranger
That ws born in a stable and laid in a manger,
For he is a Physician to heal all our smarts --
Come welcome sweet Jesus, and lodge in our hearts.

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols