The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Our Master Hath A Garden

For Christmas

Words: Heer Jesus heeft een hofken, Dutch carol of the 15th century, from Geestlijcke Harmonie, Emmerich, 1633. The English words by Dr. [John Mason] Neale are slightly altered in the Refrain, “There Angel Choirs etc.”
Also known as
“Jesus' Bloemhof”

Music: Traditional Dutch Carol

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #125, pp. 26-27.

1. Our Master hath a garden which fair flowers adorn,
There will I go and gather both at eve and morn;


There angel choirs tune jubilant lyres, With dulcimer, lute
And trumpet proud, and clarion loud and gentle soothing flute.
With trumpet proud, and clarion loud, and gentle soothing flute.

2. The lily white that bloometh there is Purity,
The fragrant violet is surnamed Humility;
        There angel choirs, &c.

3. The lovely damask rose is there called Patience,
The rich and cheerful marigold Obedience;
        There angel choirs, &c.

4. One plant is there with crown bedight, the rest above,
With crown imperial, and this plant is Holy Love;
        There angel choirs, &c.

5. But still of all the flowers the fairest nd the best,
Is Jesus Christ, the Lord Himself, His Name be blest;
        There angel choirs, &c.

6. O Jesu, my chief good and sole felicity,
Thy little garden make my ready heart to be;
        There angel choirs, &c.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #125, pp. 26-27.

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Editor's Notes:

Neale's original refrain:

Nought's heard therein but Angel hymns with harp and lute,
Loud trumpets and bright clarions, and the gentle soothing flute.

Source: The People's Hymnal (London: J. Masters and Co., 1877), #546, p. 197. There was no musical setting in this edition.

The English words are said to have appeared in the "Ecclesiologist" in February, 1856 (see below). It is also said to have appeared in A Collection of Antient Christmas Carols (Novello, 1860), arranged by Edmund Sedding.

See this translation by George Woodward: King Jesus Hath A Garden.

Other English translations include “The Garden of Jesus” and “Lord Jesus Has a Garden,” according to William Emmett Studwell, The Christmas Carol Reader (New York and London: Harrington Park Press, 1995), p. 99. Mr. Studwell noted that the growing plants motif was used frequently in medieval carols, including carols such as:

He described this carol as "a fine and imaginative early worship carol," a good example of Dutch Christmas songs, and "quite possibly the most popular carol from the Netherlands."

Sheet Music from The Musical Times, Volume 61 (London: Novello and Company, August 1, 1920), “Our Master Hath A Garden,” pp. 537+. Eight Pages. A Hymn-Anthem composed by Herbert R. Crimp. Words translated from The Ecclesiologist, 1856.

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Sheet Music from The Ecclesiologist, Published under the Superintendence of The Ecclesiological Society, Volume XVII. No. CXII. (London: Joseph Masters and Co., February, 1856), from "Dutch Hymns and Carols," pp. 55-62.

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