The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Upon the Twenty-fifth of December

For the Holy Innocents

Words: English Traditional

 The Roxburghe Ballads 3.452, The British Library, Shelfmark C.20.f.9(452)

Source: Four Choice Carols for Christmas Holidays, The English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara, ca. 1700

See: The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents

Being very necessary and proper to be had in all CHRISTIAN FAMILIES.


Upon the Twenty-fifth of December,
    Our blessed Messias he was born:
Let us with Praise this Day adore,
    To see how he left his Habitation;
For to redeem poor sinfull Men
    Sing Praise unto his most holy Name.

First. A bright Angel brought the happy Tidings,
    Unto a Virgin pure and chaste,
Hail! blessed Mary, full of Grace,
    The Lord of Life remains with thee,
The blessed Saviour of all Men.
    Sing Praise unto his most holy Name.

The blessed Virgin weary was and tired,
    When she came to Bethlehem,
There was no Lodging for her then,
    She was deliverd of our Saviour,
That very Night in an Oxs Stall,
    To shew that Mans Pride must have a Fall.

Then came three Wise-men, Kings that were so loya
    All guided by a glorious Star,
From the East Country came so far,
    To see the blessed Babe sweet Jesus,
That in a Manger there was laid,
    Sing Praise unto his holy Name.

But when King Herod found himself deceivd,
    He was with Wrath and Anger filld;
Vowing that all Infants should be killd,
    Thinking to murder our dear Saviour,
Who came for to redeem us then,
    O cruel, cruel, and most bloody Man!

Then came the glorious happy Tidings,
    Unto poor Shepherds feeding Sheep,
Which made the Shepherds Hearts to leap,
    To hear the blessed Babe sweet Jesus
That he was born in Bethlehem,
    Sing Praise unto his most gracious Name.


One of four carols on this Broadside. The carols were:

Also found in Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth, ed., The Roxburghe Ballads. Part XX., Vol. VII. (Hertford: Printed for the Ballad Society By Stephen Austin and Sons, 1871, 1890), p. 777. Carol 4.

The Roxburghe Ballads, Vol. 7, p. 775. 

Note By J.W. Ebsworth in The Roxburghe Ballads, Part XX., Vol. VII, on pp. 777-778:

No Colophon. Three woodcuts: 2nd, the Madonna and child; between, 1st, St. Matthew, and 3rd, St. John Evangelist. Roxb. has no Colophon, but the second and third of these ditties were printed by J. Millet in a volume of New Carols (Wood's No. 40), in Black-letter, circa 1674, or earlier, and this is the probable date of the originals. Ours is a modern reprint in White-letter. It is a fairly trustworthy version.

Note.—Although the Third Carol, "When bloody Herod reigned King," is mistakenly applied to John the Baptist, instead of concerning the Evangelist's festival, the woodcut was rightly assigned. Two other woodcuts of St. John are given on pp. 778 and 790. The tune to it is, " Oh no, Oh no, not yet" (p. 141); the tune of "In friendly love and unity" is, ' Where is my true love ?' Both these carols are in Wood's New Christmas Carols, 110, art. 5.

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