The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Righteous Joseph

For Christmas

Version 3

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #32
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1. When righteous Joseph wedded was
To Israel's Hebrew maid,
The Angel Gabriel came from Heaven,
And to the Virgin said:
"Hail, blessed Mary, full of grace,
The Lord remain in thee;
Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son,
Our Saviour for to be":

Then sing you all, both great and small,
Now well, now well, now well;
We may rejoice to hear the voice
Of the Angel Gabriel.

2. Thus Mary and her husband king
Together did remain,
Until the time of Jesus' birth,
As Scriptures doth make plain.
As mother, wife, and virtuous maid,
Our Saviour sweet conceived;
And in due time to bring us him,
Of whom we were bereaved; Chorus

3. Sing praises all, both young and old,
To him that wrought such things;
And all without the means of man,
Sent us the King of kings,
Who is of such a spirit blest,
That with his might did quell
The world, the flesh, and by his death
Did conquer death and hell: Chorus

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #32

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When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was - Shaw & Dearmer

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Editor's Note:

This very old carol was found in several collections of English Broadsides. These Broadsides are frequently an important source for collectors, together with the recollections of local singers and musicians. There are four "Broadside" versions of "When Righteous Joseph" available on this web site, plus versions of this song published in several carol collections. Versions on this site include:

This was noted as one of several "doubting Joseph" carols by Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott including The Cherry Tree Carols, Joseph Being An Aged Man, Joseph Being An Old Man Truly, and Joseph Was An Old Man. See The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), Carol #129, pp. 446-8.

See: Christmas Mummers' Carol - Broadwood (Journal of the Folk Song Society, Vol. 2, 1905)

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