The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Little Book
Christmas Carols
The Ancient Melodies To Which They Are Sung
Including The
Celebrated Boar's Head Song,
Annual Sung On Christmas-day at Queen's College, Oxford.

Collected and Edited By

Edward F. Rimbault, LL.D., F.S.A.

Cramer, Beale & Co., 201, Regent Street,
And 67, Conduit Street.

[No Date]
[Circa 1847]


“Not a man here shall taste my March beer,
Till a Christmas Carol he does sing.”
Old Robin Hood Ballad.

“Then came the Merry masquers in,
And carols roared with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
If was a hearty note, and strong.”
Sir Walter Scott.



Table of Contents

1. The First Nowel The Angel Did Say (Nowel, i.e., Noel derived from the Latin Natalis (the dies natalis of our Lord), which soon became naturalised in our language and literature)

2. A Virgin Most Pure, As The Prophets Do Tell (This carol is still very popular in the west of England. A variety of different carols are sung to the same air.)

3. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (The most common and generally popular of all carol tunes. It is frequently sung in both the major and minor keys.)

4. Another Version Of The Same (This tune is well known in Cornwall and in the west of England.)

5. I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In (This beautiful air, like the four previous ones, has been handed down by oral tradition.)

6. The Boars Head Carol (This fine old carol is annually sung at Christmas in Queen's College, Oxford. The boar's head, with a lemon in his mouth, was always the first dish at Christmas in great houses, nor is the practice yet entirely obsolete, though in most cases brawn is now substituted for it, the former being rather an expensive dainty.)

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