The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

If Christmas Day On The Sunday Be

Words: English Traditional
From the Harleian MS at the British Museum
No. 2252, fol. 154, vo

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

If Christmas day on the Sunday be,
A troublous winter ye shall see,
    Mingled with waters strong;
Good there shall be without fable,
For the summer shall be reasonable,
    With storms at times among.

Wines that year shall all be good,
The harvest shall be wet with flood,
    Pestilence fall on many a country,
Ere that sickness shall have past,
And while great tempests last,
    Many young people dead shall be.

Princes that year with iron shall die,
There shall be changing of many lords high,
    Amongst knights great debate,
Many tidings shall come to men,
Many wives shall be weeping then,
    Both of poor and great estate.

The faith shall then be hurt truly,
For divers points of heresy,
    That shall then appear,
Through the tempting of the fiend;
And divers matters unkind
    Shall bring great danger near.

Cattle shall thrive, one and the other,
Save oxen, they shall kill each other;
    And some beasts they shall die;
Both fruit and corn will not be good,
Apples will be scarce for food,
    And ships shall suffer on the sea.

That year on Monday, without fearing
All things well thou may'st begin,
    They shall be profitable;
Children that on this day are born,
I'faith shall mighty be and strong,
    Of wit full reasonable.

Introductory Note from Vizetelly:

"The following poems [this and Lordings, All Of You I Warn] are, perhaps, more curious than interesting. They afford, however, some idea of the superstitious dread with which the advent of Christmas Day must have been regarded in these early times, not merely by the vulgar, but by all classes of our forefathers, for the Francis Moores and Ralphaels of the fifteenth century, found even kings willing believers of their extravagant predictions. From the allusion in each verse of the first poem to the risks that those who steal subject themselves to, one would almost suppose thieving to have been the fashionable vice of the age, practised alike by both rich and poor, and that there was a great need of such injunctions against it.

"Both of these poems are from the same Harleian MS. in the British Museum [citing No. 2252, fols. 153-4, vo]."

Editor's Note

Christmas Day is not alone as a date of weather forecasting. See: Candlemas.

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