The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

King Jesus Hath A Garden

Words from Heer Jesus heeft een Hofken,
Traditional Dutch from Geestlijcke Harmonie, Emmerich, 1633
Translation by Rev. George R. Woodward (

Source: George Radcliffe Woodward, ed., Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), # 430


1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.

There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.

2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, Humanity. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marygold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
'Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, 'mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless'd be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1919), Carol #67
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Arrangements include:

Arrangements published by:

The Woodward translation King Jesus Hath A Garden (Wood arrangement) is also found on pp. 68-69 of Carols for Choirs 1: 50 Christmas Carols (London, Oxford University Press).

It is also found in  David Willcocks & John Rutter, eds., 100 Carols for Choirs (London: Oxford University Press, 1987), carol #48, with the credit "Reprinted from The Cowley Carol Book by permission."

You folks are fabulous. This site continues to improve because of kind and thoughtful people such as Bert, who sent this email on Dec. 9, 2010. I've added some text that Bert had linked to.

Dear Doug,

Listening to English Christmas Carols on CD, I noticed that there was an organ improvisation of "Heer Jesus heeft een hofken" on it followed by the English version. So looking into its history i.a. I found your site and thought you might appreciate this information.

The Dutch text of "Heer Jesus heeft een hofken" can also be found at this link (the printed version of 1907, based on different sources from 1577 on with music):


Heer Jesus heeft een hoofken.


1. Heer Jesus heeft een hoofken daer lelien staen,

daer in soo sal ic plucken gaen, tis wel gedaen.

Men hoort daer niet dan ingelen sanc,

harp ghespel, trompetten en claretten,

en die veelkens alsoo veel.

2. Die lelikens die daer inne staen, is reynicheyt,

vio[o]lkens die daer omme staen, is ootmoedicheyt.

Men hoort, enz.

3. Conden ic heer Jesum minnen als ic geerne dee,

soo soude ick in mijn herteken hebben grooten vre.

Men hoort, enz.

4. Heer Jesus is die beste bloem al inden hof,

al dat inden hemel es, [die] gheeft hem lof.

Men hoort, enz.

5. Als ick dit liedeken singe, mij verlancgt soo seer

daer ick soo geeren wesen sou; ic en weet wanneer.

Men hoort, enz.

As Afrikaans is derived from 17th century's Dutch, it is quite natural that this (authentic Dutch!) text does remind someone of Afrikaans.

Merry Christmas,


Thanks, Bert, and to you all.

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