The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Over Yonder's A Park

A Corpus Christi Carol

Compare: The Falcon Carol, Down In Yon Forest, Down In Yon Forest - John Jacob Niles, and Corpus Christi Carol (“Down in yon forest”)

Words: Traditional

Music: Martin Shaw
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., 1913), Carol #8

1. Over yonder's a park which is newly begun,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which is silver on the outside and gold within,
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

2. And in the park there stands a hall,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which is covered all over with purple and pall,
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

3. And in that hall there stands a bed,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which is hung all round with silk curtains red,
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

4. And in that bed there lies a knight,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Whose wounds they do bleed by day and by night,
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

5. At that bedside there lies a stone,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which the sweet Virgin Mary knelt upon,
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

6. At that bed's foot there lies a hound,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which is licking the blood as it daily runs down.
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

7. At that bed's head there grows a thorn,
    All bells in Paradise I heard them a-ring,
Which ever blows blossom since Christ was born
    And I love sweet Jesus above all thing.

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer

Editor's Note:

The solemnity of Corpus Christi is observed on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which is celebrated on first Sunday after Pentecost, a.k.a. Whitsunday, so called from the white garments which were worn by those who were baptized during the vigil.  In 2004, Pentecost was celebrated on May 30, Trinity Sunday was June 6, and Corpus Christi was June 10.

Properly speaking, this is not a Christmas carol.  However, since it refers to the birth of Christ, I've included it in this collection.

Notes from Shaw and Dearmer:

The earliest version, c. 1400, is different in many ways, and has the Refrain:

Lully, lulley, lully, lulley,
The faucon hath borne my make away.”

The version here printed was taken down from a troupe of Christmas Morris dancers, in North Staffordshire, in 1862. Two lines in verse 5 and 6 are from another version taken down in Derbyshire in 1908.

Here is the text of the early MS., which is dated c. 1400. After the Refrain quoted above: –

He bare him up, he bare him down,
He bare him into an orchard brown.

2. In that orchard there was a halle
That was hanged with purpill and pall.

3. And in that halle there was a bede,
It was hanged with gold so rede.

4. And in that bede there lith a knight,
His woundes bleding day and night.

5. By that bedeside kneleth a may,
And she weepeth both night and day.

6. And by that bedeside there standeth a stone,
Corpus Christi wreten thereon.

The allusions, of course, in all versions are mystical – the bed hung round with curtains being the altar, the wounded knight the Eucharistic sacrifice. The thorn, the dove mourning over the loss of her mate, and other allusions have led Miss Annie Gilchrist to find an interesting further interpretation in the Legends of the Holy Grail. See Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 14, June, 1910, pp. 52-66.

Also found in Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 194, under the title "All The Bells In Paradise."

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