The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Cherry-tree Carol

Version 3

Words and Music: Traditional Medieval
From Cornwall
English Traditional

Parts 1 and 2
See: The Cherry Tree Carol - Notes

Joseph Was An Old Man
When Joseph Was a Walking

Source: Ralph Dunstan, The Cornish Song Book (London: Reid Bros., Ltd., 1929), p. 85.

1. When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he;
He married sweet Mary of fair Galilee;
And as they went a walking in the garden so free,
Fair Mary spied cherries upon a tall tree.

2. "O get those cherries, Joseph, which there I can see,
O get those sweet cherries and give them to me."
But Joseph spake unkindly, and thus answer'd he:
"I'll not pluck those cherries to give unto thee."

3. Then Mary said to Cherry-tree, "Bow down to my knee,
That I may pluck cherries, by one, two and three."
The highest branch, obedient, bowed down to her knee:
"Thus may you see, Joseph, those cherries are for me."

4. As Joseph was a-walking, he heard Angels sing,
"This night shall be born our Heavenly King.
He shall not be born in house or hall,
Nor in Heavenly mansion, but in an ox-stall.

5. "He shall not be clothed in purple or pall;
But all in fair linen as wear babies all.
He shall not be rocked in silver nor gold,
But in a wooden cradle that rocks on the mould."

6. Then Mary took her Baby, she dress'd Him so sweet,
She laid Him in a manger all there for to sleep.
And as she stood o'er Him she heard Angels sing:
"O bless our dear Saviour, our Heavenly King!"

Sheet Music

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