The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Dialogue Between Dives and Lazarus

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

Sources: Broadside Harding B 19(129)
And Broadside Johnson Ballads 1766.

Dash, Printer, Kettering (Price One Penny)

See: Bramley and Stainer, Dives and Lazarus, with Notes.

To The Reader.

Behold these lines crave thy most solid view,
Since by the Scriptures they are proved true.
Dost thou want riches? Here, without all measure,
Is a most blessed stock of lasting treasure,
This heav'nly treasure will enrich thee more,
Than all the jewels on the Indian shore:
Receive it joyfully, and say no more.
Poor men rejoice, whilst rich men howl and cry,
Such is he pleasure of the Deity:
The cease thy tears, poor wretched soul, and lend
An ear unto poor Lazarus, thy friend.


Most noble Sir, view but these sores I bear,
And how each one doth like a mouth appear;
For some relief my wounds do loudly cry,
\And humbly beg your Christian charity.
For I have lain here, day by day, unable,
E'er to obtain the scraps fell from your table;
The very dogs more kindness shew than you,
Who lick my sores and heal my ulcers too;
Alas! great Sir, I languish, nay, I die,
Only for want of timely charity.
Let me request your bounty, for I know,
God will repay you double what I owe:
For God's sake, and your own, let me but have
Some kind relief, to shield me from the grave,
Scraps from your table I do only crave.


Why, how now, Sirrah! how dare you presume
To urge my patience with your begging tune?
How date you venture at my gate to lie?
Up, and begone, or else prepare to die.
Talk you of sores and wounds, what's that to me?
The dogs, indeed, your fittest comforts be:
My table is not spread to grant relief
To every begging, lazy, idle, thief;
Such as yourself may be, for aught I know.
Begone, you Idle rascal, Sirrah, go,
Or I'll release your idle cries and groans,,
With a good cudgel, that shall break your bones.
What, if you languish, perish, rot, or die;
Do so, or hang yourself, pray what care I?
You tell me God will double what I give,
Yet will I not believe it, as I live!
Go to him then yourself, if you are able,
And tell me then, who keeps the better table;
Go, get you gone, you lazy, idle thief,
I fear you there will find but small relief.


Farewell, proud, scornful dust and ashes, I
Will henceforth only on my God rely:
With winged speed I will approach his throne,
And all my grief and misery make known.
Lord, thou art able to relieve my wants,
Relieve my misery and hear my plaints.
From thee, my God, I do expect much more,
Than ever yet I found at Dives's door.
However, gracious God, I now must try,
My strength decays, great God, behold I die.


Hail, blessed Lazarus! all hail, we say,
We're come, thy soul to Heaven to convey;
Blessed Abraham attends with open arms,
Who will secure thee from all future harms.
Rouse then, bless'd saint, and Hallelujah sing,
Whilst we with expedition take the wing,
In order to transport thee to that place
Of joy, where tears shall ne'er bedew thy face.

Dives, Lifting Up His Eyes In Hell.

Behold me, Father Abraham, I lie
Surrounded with eternal misery:
Shall Lazarus a blessed place obtain,
Whilst I all hellish torments do sustain?
Have mercy on me, Father, pray now send
Thrice-happy Lazarus, to dip the end
Of one of his bless'd fingers, and assuage
My hell-tormenting tongue, which makes me rage,
Some coating water for my tongue; for I
Must now in Hell's eternal torments fry.


Remember, Son, to add unto thy grief,
When living you allowed him no relief;
You then possessed your good things, he his bad,
You swarm'd in mirth, whilst Lazarus was sad.
But now the case is alter'd much, for he
Shall ever you, whilst you tormented be.
Besides, a gulf between us two there lies,
More deep than is the earth beneath the skies;
And, let me tell you, you will find it true,
You cannot come to me, or I to you.


Dear Father, let me then this suit obtain,
Send him unto my father's house again
Five brethren there I have O let him tell
To them the torments I endure in hell!
And if they will not then their sins refrain
Let Lazarus return to thee again.


Moses the Prophets too, must be their guide;
And pray, what else would they desire beside?


Nay, Father Abraham, but if one went
Unto them from the grave, they would repent.


If Moses and the Prophets will not do,
They'll not believe a messenger from you.

Broadside Harding B 19(129)

Harding B 19(129)-08557.jpg (291174 bytes)

Broadside Johnson Ballads 1766

Johnson Ballads 1766-21565.jpg (624640 bytes)

Another carol has a similar title, but very different content. This is the first verse of the version from Bramley and Stainer:

As it fell out upon a day,
Rich Dives made a feast ...

Contrast this carol with a similar name and theme:

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