The English Carol Book

Second Series, 1919

Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer , Editors
(London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1919)

See: First Series and Complete Edition

Table of Contents

33. A Babe Is Born All Of A May

34. Bethlehem (Dans cette étable / In That Poor Stable)

35. Ben Jonson's Carol (I Sing The Birth Was Born To-Night)

36. Boar's Head Carol (The Boar’s Head In Hand Bear I)

37. Candlemas Eve Carol (Down With The Rosemary And Bays)

38. Coventry Carol - Version 1 (O Sisters Too)

39. The Falcon Carol (He Bare Him Up)

40. Gallery Carol (Rejoice And Be Merry)

41. I Saw Three Ships - Version 3 [Second Version in Shaw and Dearmer; Version 1 is in the First Series]

42. Kings of Orient (We Three Kings Of Orient Are)

43. In Excelsis Gloria (When Christ Was Born of Mary Free)

44. May-Day Garland (I've Brought You Here A Bunch Of May!)

45. O Lovely Voices Of The Sky

46. New Prince, New Pomp (Behold A Simple Tender Babe)

47. "Noel, Noel, Noel," Sang The Church Bell (Noel, Noel, Noel)

48. The Snow In The Street (From Far Away)

49 Somerset Carol (Come All You Worthy Gentlemen)

50. The World Is Old Tonight

51. This Endris Night I Saw A Sight - Version 2

52. Welcome Yule (Rickert; Shaw & Dearmer) (Welcome Be Thou)

53. What Child Is This, Who, Laid To Rest - Version 1

54. A Yeomans Carol (Let Christians All With Joyful Mirth)

Introduction by Percy Dearmer and Martin Shaw

Since often the words only of an old Carol are preserved, and sometimes only the tune, this collection contains, besides complete traditional examples, some old Carols now mated to traditional tunes which would otherwise be wordless, and some for which tunes have been written either by the Musical Editor [Martin Shaw] or by the gifted composers who have kindly come to our assistance. In this way Herrick's Candlemas Carol carries an old church-gallery tune (37), and Ben Jonson and William Morris are set by Mr. Rutland Boughton (35) and Dr. Vaughan Williams (48); and, while some of the beautiful Old English Carols of pre-Reformation date have their own tunes, others have been now brought, we hope, into common use again by Mr. John Ireland (46), Mr. Sydney Nicholson (52), and by the Musical Editor (39, 43).

We have also to thank Mr. Joseph Morrat and Mr. Laurence Housman for the two Carols (Nos. 47 and 50) from their Nativity play, "Bethlehem"'; Mr. L. J. T. Darwall for the tunes to Nos. 37, 40, and 54; Miss J. H. Blunt for the tune No. 41, recently noted by her.

Mr. Cecil Sharp, to whom so many are indebted, has allowed us to include No. 49. For the late Mr. Chatterton Dix's Carol (No. 53) we are indebted to the kind permission of his daughter.


It is highly desirable, in performing these Carols, never to sing all the verses through in the same way. Variety may be obtained, for instance, by singing the first and last verses (and in the case of a long Carol, other selected verses) in unison. Some (as, for example, the Corpus Christi Carol in the First Series) may be treated as a solo, and the organ harmonies sung bouche fermée by the choir. The organ may be brought in with thrilling effect in a Carol like the "First Nowell," after having been silent in the middle verses. A fine antiphonal effect may be produced by alternate singing of choir and people. These methods should be thought out beforehand, and announced before the beginning of each Carol, in order that the people may fulfil their appointed part with confidence. It is a great help to choir and people if the choirmaster stand in some central spot and conduct them both.

We have introduced in some cases a new musical feature, which we have called the præludium. It consists of one or two irregular lines, sung as a solo before the Carol begins, and connected musically with the Carol tune. Very many of the fifteenth century Carols are headed in the text with a little lilting refrain, which looks as if it were meant to be sung; and in one roystering banquet-hall Carol of the reign of Henry VIII there is such an introduction in dialogue, with once sentence to which the word "plain-song" is affixed. We have retained the original headings in the fifteenth century Carols here given, and have set them to music. We have also added one or two other old præludia to later Carols, setting them also. We think those who use the book will agree that they are a very beautiful feature, and will prefer not to omit them.



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