Words and Music:
See: All You That Are To Mirth Inclined - Notes
1. All you that are to mirth inclin'd
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us hath done
In sending his beloved Son.
And to redeem our souls from thrall,
He1 is the Saviour of us all.
2. Let all your songs and praises be
Unto his Heavenly Majesty,
And evermore among your mirth
Remember Christ our Saviour's birth. Chorus
3. The five and twentieth of December,
Good cause have you for to remember,
In Bethlehem upon this morn
There was our blessed Saviour born. Chorus
4. The night before that happy tide
The spotless Virgin, and her guide,
Went long time seeking up and down
To find them lodging in the town. Chorus
5. And mark how all things came to pass,
The inns and lodging so filled was,
That they could have no room at all,
but in a silly2 ox's stall. Chorus
6. That night the Virgin Mary mild
Was safe delivered of a Child,
According unto Heaven's decree
Man's sweet salvation for to be. Chorus
7. Near Bethlehem did Shepherds keep
Their herds and flocks, and feeding sheep,
To whom God's Angels did appear,
Which put the Shepherds in great fear. Chorus
8. "Prepare and go," the Angel said,
"To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
There shall you see this blessed morn,
The princely babe, sweet Jesus, born." Chorus
9. With thankful hearts and joyful mind,
The Shepherds went this babe to find,
And as the heavenly Angel told,
They did our Saviour Christ to behold. Chorus
10. Within a manger was he laid,
The Virgin Mary by him stay'd,
Attending on the Lord of life,
Being both mother, maid, and wife. Chorus
11. Three Eastern Wise men from afar,
Directed by a glorious Star,
Came boldly on, and made no stay,
Until they came where Jesus lay. Chorus
12. And being come unto the place
Wherein the blest Messias was,
They humbly laid before his feet
Their gifts of gold and odours sweet. Chorus
13. See how the Lord of Heaven and Earth
Shew'd himself lowly in his birth,
A sweet example for mankind,
To learn to bear an humble mind. Chorus
14. No costly robes or rich attire
Did Jesus Christ our Lord desire,
No musick nor sweet harmony,
Till glorious Angels came from high. Chorus
15. If choirs of Angels did rejoice,
Well may mankind with heart and voice
Sing praises to the God of Heaven,
That unto us his Son is given. Chorus
for Let All That Are To Mirth Inclined from Richard R. Terry,
Gilbert and Sandys' Christmas Carols
(London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1931); "Words and melody from
Gilbert's 'Christmas Carols,' 1822"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Meter 88 88
1. Or "Christ" in the West-country version, according to Husk. Return
2. Simple or inoffensive, according to Husk. Return
This carol is printed, with little variation, in an edition of Deloney's "Garland of Good-will," (not the black letter copy,) and called "The Sinners Redemption." In the same work is a curious ballad, intitled, "A wonder Prophesie, declared by Christian James, a maid of twenty years of age, who was born near Padstow in the country of Cornwal, &c. To the tune of 'In Summer-time.'" It concludes thus: --
The magistrates of that same parish,
Which heard and saw this wonder strange,
Desir'd to have it put in print,
'Cause wicked men their ways may change.
Joshua Sylvester, Christmas Carols - Ancient and Modern (circa 1861, the printed by A. Wessels Company, New York, 1901):
This rude old carol is still an especial favorite with the peasantry. Hone mentions it in his list [See Christmas Carols now annually Printed] and I find that nearly all the broadside printers include it in their yearly sheets. The word "mirth" was certainly not used by the author in that irreverent sense which it now usually conveys. Religious joy was intended, not boisterous merriment. In an old edition of Deloney's "Garland of Good-will," this carol is given under the title of "The Sinner's Redemption."
Sylvestre also notes that the word "silly", found in the last line of the fifth verse, is an old word for simple or inoffensive.
Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4. Keyte and Parrott have excellent notes to their version, #140.
Husk, William Henry, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868):
This is one of the most popular carols. It is annually reprinted by the broadside printers, and is included in most of the existing collections of carols. Possibly the oldest known copy of this carol is that contained in the undated edition of Thomas Deloney, "the ballading silk-weaver's," Garland of Good Will, believed to have been issued in 1709. It is there entitled, "The Sinner's Redemption: The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with His life on earth, and precious death on the Cross." Although appearing in that publication there is no reason for supposing it to have been written by Deloney, who died in 1600; but there is no doubt of its being of considerable age. The copy printed in 1709 consists of twenty-eight verses, but wants the burthen, "And to redeem," &c; the last twelve of these verses, however, are commonly omitted, as relating not to the commencement of our blessed Lord's career on earth, but to its conclusion.
The shorter version, as being the most generally used, is here retained. In Davies Gilbert's collection the carol commences, Let All That Are To Mirth Inclined; and there is extant a sheet of music issued by a London publisher (who withheld his name) about 1775, containing a short version of the carol, differing from Gilbert's, but commencing in the same way, set to a tune composed by J. A.; — M. B. — possibly John Alcock, organist of Lichfield Cathedral, or his son, John. In a copy in the Roxburgh collection of Ballads the carol is directed to be sung "To the tune of My bleeding heart, or, In Crest."
Husk adds the following verse, and renumbers the last verse as #16:
15. Did in melodious manner sing
Praises unto our heavenly King;
All honour, glory, might and power
Be unto Christ our Saviour. Chorus
Husk restores the 15th verse as found in Gilbert. Otherwise, Husk reproduces the version found in Sandys, with only minor spelling and capitalization differences.
Editor's Note: There are a number of carols on this website with similar titles or lyrical themes, and some of which are derived from a single source. See: All You That Are To Mirth Inclined - Notes.
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