The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

You Mortals All Of High and Low Degree

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional
Compare: You Mortals All, or Christ's Love to Penitent Sinners

Newcastle upon Tyne: Printed and Sold by John White.
Date Published: 1725-1769 ?

Original in the British Library
English Broadside Ballad Archive, EBBA ID 31487, Roxburghe 3.784-785.

 

CHRISTs LOVE.
TO
PENITENT SINNERS.
SHEWING
How he shed his Blood seven Times for our SINS.

YOU Mortals all of high and low Degree,
Draw near a While and listen unto me;
Whilst I unfold these Lines which you shalt find,
They are composd to put you fresh in mind,

Of what our gracious God has done,
In sending of his beloved Son:
When Thousands on the Brink of Ruin lay,
He sent his Son their sinful Debts to pay.

Now lets observe this Prince of royal Birth,
When at the first he descended on the Earth,
Was by a Virgin in a Manger laid,
When Christ was born, his Mother was a Maid.

This Babes Birth both far and near did ring,
Which reachd the Ears of Herod that great King;
That angry Monarch for to stir up strife,
Was then resolved to take away his Life.

To make sure of the Babe we understand,
He sent forth a Decree throughout the Land,
That every Child then, as he did reign,
From two Years old and under should be slain.

The Murderers were sent about their Work to do,
And many a pretty smiling Babe they slew;
Cutting their Flesh, and breaking of their Bones,
Dashing their tender Heads against the Stones.

Young harmless Babes they from the Breast did take,
And havock of their crimson Blood did make:
Regarding not their Parents Grief and Wo,
Who sighed to see their Children murdered so.

You have learned the Scripture for to read,
Rachel refused to be comforted:
Because among the rest Grief was her Lot,
She sighed and mournd because her Babe was not.

Thro Herods Wrath this Murder it was done,
Thousands were slain to make sure of one;
But God who knows the Hearts and Thoughts of Men,
Preservd his Son from Herods cruel Hand.

Joseph as he lay Sleeping in the Night,
By Dreams was warned for to take his Flight,
And take tha Babe to Egypt, where
The Child thro Mercy was preserved there.

Tho he escaped that Time in Egypt Land,
Pray yet observe and you shall understand;
This Babe was born for our sinful Crimes,
Did shed his Blood for us seven several Times.

The first Time he shed his Blood for us behold,
When he was circumcised at eight Days old;
The second Time as we have often heard,
Was when the Jews with Pinchers pulld his Beard.

Out by the Robes, which made me for to think,
Blood must appear and make this Lamb to shrink;
The third Time that his Blood in Streams did run,
Was when the Jews did scourge him through the Town.

The fourth Time in the Garden, where
He in his Agony did suffer there;
For by the Scriptures it is so understood,
With Grief of Soul he sweat great Drops of Blood.

The fifth Time his Blood for us was shed,
It was when they with Thorns crowned his Head;
For it needs must make us think indeed,
To wear the pricking Thorns his Head must bleed.

The sixth Time he shed his Blood most sweet,
When to the Cross they naild him Hand and Feet;
And like Monsters their Prince for to abuse,
Over his Head they writ the King of the Jews.

Nay more than that, tho Prince and Lord of all,
They made him drink sharp Vinegar and Gall;
And to degrade him as we understand,
They placed two Theves by him one on each Hand.

This done one of the Thieves said thus,
If thou be Christ now save thyself and us;
To hear these Words the other did reply,
Thou Wretch it is for Justice we must die.

But as for this good Man no Ill hath done,
What makes thou thus revile this blessed One:
Thou Son of God this Penitent did say,
In thy Fathers Kingdom remember me I pray.

Of this Thiefs Saying, Christ great Notice took,
And to him then with a merciful Look,
Christ cast an Eye, and said, Thou shalt be
This very Day in Paradise with me.

The seventh Time for to augment his Pain,
With a sharp Spear they pierced his Sides amain,
Great was the Stream of Blood upon the Ground,
They piercd his Side so deep they made him groan.

Out of his Side from his dear Heart ran down,
Great Streams of crimson Blood upon the Ground:
Dear blessed Lord, how was you then abusd,
By bloody Jews who did no Conscience use.

Then on that Day this blessed One was forced,
With a deep Groan he yielded up the Ghost.
And at this Dissolution then was there,
Upon the Earth great Darkness did appear.

The Earth did tremble, the Sun witheld its Light,
The Rocks against each other now did smite;
The Hills did tremble for a little Space,
The lofty Mountains moved from the Place.

The Graves did open and many Dead arose,
To see this Sight many of his cruel Foes;
Astonishd said, These Things looks very odd,
Surely this Man was the Son of God.

Then in a new Sepulcher Christ was lain,
Wherein three Days and Nights he did remain;
And when he arose, we hear, in Hell
The Devil trembled, and with Rage did swell.

Tho in Deaths Chains Christ was forced to lie,
In Gods true Time he made those Fetters fly:
Death never was bauked froce nor before,
Christs Resurrection made the Devils roar.

The first Time Christ was upon the Earth,
He persecuted was unto his Death;
Twas for our Sins he suffered thus indeed,
To think on this what Heart can cease to bleed.

Too many of us do act forbidden Things,
And daily do crucify the King of Kings;
Eer it be too late your Wickedness give oer,
For Christ for us will shed his Blood no more.

As we must die and Christ our Judge must be,
To serve our Maker let us all agree;
That Christ may say that sits upon the Throne,
Come Souls! I dyd for you, you are my own.

Editor's Note:

This comment was found in Volume 7 of The Roxburghe Ballads:

THREE other religious Poems contained in Roxburghe Collection Vol. III. on pp. 469, 549, and 784, respectively, need not be fully reproduced here. They are of modern issue, in white-letter.

The third of these is a reprint published by John White, of Newcastle, circa 1765, and probably had an earlier original: 'Christ's Love to Penitent Sinners; showing how he shed his Blood Seven times for our Sins.' It begins "You mortals all of high and low degree. Draw near a while and listen unto me;" etc. Thirty four-line stanzas of intolerable dullness and well-nigh inconceivable flatness. The remainder-biscuit after a voyage is appetizing nourishment in comparison. It professes to be a condensed narrative of the Saviour's passion, but there is no glow of enthusiasm, no attempt to rise to the dignity of the theme. One stanza (25), on events following the Crucifixion, may suffice :

"The Graves did open, and many Dead arose:
To see this sight many of his cruel foes
Admonish'd said, ' These Things looks very odd,
Surely this Man was the Son of God.'" [Roxb. C. III. 784.]

None of the three are in ballad form, or have tunes assigned to them.

Twenty-three four-line stanzas belong to 'The Great Tribunal; or, Christ's glorious appearing in Judgment. Being a contemplative Description of the Resurrection. The woodcut, a man standing on a scull, is on p. 800, reduced: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life."

Source: J. Woodfall Ebsworth, ed., The Roxburghe Ballads. Vol. VII. Part I. (Hertford: Stephen Austin and Sons, 1890), p. 799.

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