The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was

Alternate Title: The Angell Gabriell, his Salutation to the Blessed Virgin MARY.

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional

Music: The Blazing Torch

Source: Broadside saved in the Euing Collection, # 126
The English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara
EBBA ID: 32613
Date Published: 1658-1664 ?

The Angell Gabriell, his Salutation to the blessed 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 in thee:
Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son
thy Saviour to be.

Thats wondrous strange quoth Mary then
I should conceive and breed,
Being never toucht by mortal man,
but pare in thought and deed.
Fear not, quoth Gabriel by and by,
it is no work of man:
But only Gods, ordaind at first
before the world began.

Which heavenly message she believes,
and did to Jury go,
Three moneths with her friends to stay,
Gods blessed will to show:
And then returnd with Joseph back,
her Husband meek and mild,
Who thought it strange his wife should be
untoucht, thus grown with child.

Wherefore (thought he) to shun that shame
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 spotlesse Maid,
And no consent to sin (quoth he)
against her can be laid.

For she is purely Maid and Wife,
the mother of Gods own Heir,
The Babe of Heaven, and blessed Lamb,
of Israels stock so fair:
To save lost sheep to Satan sold,
whom Adam lost by fraud,
When first in Edens Paradise
the Lord had them 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 the help of man
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.


  Euing_1_126-Angel Gabriel.jpg (723870 bytes)  Euing_1_126_2448x2448.jpg (3031928 bytes)

This Broadside printed for F. Coles, T. Vere and W. Gilbertson, circa 1658-1664? It was found in the William Euing Collection, 126, which is located at University of Glasgow Library. It is available online at the English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara (EBBA ID 32613). The content of the MS Euing Collection can be seen on this page at the University of Glasgow.

On the same Broadside was printed “A dozen of Points you may here read, Whereon each Christians soul may feed” (A Dozen of Points) (EBBA ID 31834). Compare: A Douzen of Points-Pepysian, which was the companion ballad on the When Righteous Joseph – Pepysian Broadside.

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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