The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was

For Christmas

From Pepysian Collection, 2.30

Words: Traditional

Tune is, The Blazing Torch

Source: English Broadside Ballad Archive, EBBA ID 32616

The Angel Gabriel, his Salutation to the Virgin Mary.

When righteous Joseph wedded was,
to Israels Hebrew Maid,
A glorious Angel came from Heaven,
who to the Virgin said,

Hail blessed Mary full of Grace,
the Lord remains with thee,
Thou shalt conceive and bare a Son
thy Saviour to be.

Thats wondrous strange quoth Mary then,
I should conceive and breed
Being never toucht of Mortal Man,
but pure in thought and deed:

Fear not quoth Gabriel by and by,
it is no work of man,
But only God ordaind at first,
before the world began.

Which Heavenly message she believes
and did to Jury go,
Three months with her friends to stay,
Gods blessed will to show,

And then returnd to Joseph back,
her husband meek and mild,
who thought it strange his wife should be
untouchd, thus grown with Child.

Wherefore thought he, to shun the same,
he thought her to forsake,
But that Gods Angel in his sleep,
Gods mind did undertake.

Fear not just Joseph this thy wife,
is still a spotless Maid,
And no consent to Sin, quoth he,
against her can be laid.

For she is a pure Maid and Wife,
the Mother of Gods own heir,
The Babe of Heaven, and blessed Lamb
of Israels flock so fair,

To save lost sheep to Satan sold,
whom Adam lost by fraud,
When first in Edens Paradice
the Lord had him bestowd.

Thus Mary with her Husband kind,
together did remain,
Until the time of Jesus birth,
as Scripture doth make plain:

Thus Mother, Wife, and Virgin pure,
our Saviour sweet conceivd,
All three in one, to bring us joy,
of which we were bereavd.

Sing praises then both old and young,
to him which wrought such things,
That thus without the help of Man,
sent us the King of Kings:

Which is of such a blessed Power,
that with his word can quell,
The world, the flesh, and by his death.
could conquer Death and Hell.


Pepys 2.30-Angel Gabriel.jpg (181217 bytes)This Broadside printed for W. Thackeray and T. Passinger (Date unknown). It was found in the Pepys Collection, 2.30, located at The Samuel Pepys Library, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. It is available online at the English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara (EBBA ID 32616). Printed on same sheet was "A Godly new Ballad, Intituled, A Douzen of Points, with the first line: A Douzen of Points, you here may read, / Whereon each Christian Soul may feed" (EBBA ID 20653). See on this site: A Douzen of Points. Compare: A Dozen of Points Euing 126.

Pepys_2_0030_2448x2448.jpg (2027736 bytes)

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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