The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Rejoice And Be Merry

Alternate Title: A Gallery Carol

Words from an old Church Gallery Book

Tune from an old Church Gallery Book
Communicated by the Rev. J. L. T. Darwall
Meter: 65, 65, 65, 65

Source: Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., 1913), Carol #39

1. Rejoice and be merry
in songs and in mirth!
O praise our Redeemer;
all mortals on earth!
For this is the birthday
of Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

2. A heavenly vision
Appeared in the sky;
Vast numbers of angels
The shepherds did spy,
Proclaiming the birthday of
Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

3. Likewise a bright star
In the sky did appear,
Which led the wise men
From the East to draw near;
They found the Messiah,
Sweet Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

4. And when they were come,
they their treasures unfold,
And unto him offered
Myrrh, incense and gold.
So blessed for ever
Be Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

Sheet Music from Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer, The English Carol Book, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1913), Carol #40
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

You can hear this song performed by Jan and John Corbin Goldsberry by opening or downloading an MP3 file (full length, not an excerpt) at Withe and Stone (link opens in a new window at their music page). This is from their CD "On A Cold Frost Morn," volume 2; the CD can be ordered from this page.

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

This carol is also sometimes called 'The Gallery Carol' because it belongs to the tradition associated with the choirs and bands sited in the west galleries of churches before the advent of organs in the mid-19th century. This particular carol was discovered in the early 20th century in an old Dorset west-gallery songbook and included in the English Carol Book of 1919. The original songbook has been lost but the original carol probably dates back to the early or mid-18th century.

Editor's Note: For more information about the West Gallery tradition, see the West Gallery Music Association.

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