The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Virgin Unspotted

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional

Music: English Traditional

Meter: 11 11 11 11

Source: G. Walters, A Good Christmas Box (Dudley: G. Walters, 1847; reprinted Ashley: Michael Raven, 2007), p. 12.

See: In Bethlehem City - Notes

1. The Virgin unspotted, the prophets foretold,
Should bring forth a Savior, which now we behold.
To be our Redeemer from death, hell and sin,
Which Adam's transgression involved us in.

Chorus
Therefore let us be merry, cast sorrow away,
Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on that day.

2. Through Bethlehem city in Judea it was
That Joseph and Mary together did pass,
And were to be taxed wherever they came,
Since Caesar Augustus condemned the same.
 Chorus

3. But Mary's full time being came as we find,
She brought forth her first-born to save all mankind,
The in being full for this heavenly guest,
No place could be found to lay him to rest.
 Chorus

4. But Mary, blest Mary, so meek and so mild,
Soon wrapped in swaddling this heavenly child,
Contented she laid him where oxen were fed,
The great god of mercy approved the deed.
 Chorus

5. To teach us humility all this was done,
And learn we from hence all imprudence to shun:
A manger His cradle who came from above,
The great God of mercy, of peace, and of love.
 Chorus

6. Then presently after the shepherds did spy
Vast numbers of Angels to stand in the sky;
How happy they converse, how sweet do they sing,
All glory and praise to our heavenly King.
 Chorus

Note:

These lyrics, with only slight differences, are found on three broadsides in the collection held by the Bodleian Library. They are:

Broadside #1. A Virgin Unspotted, Harding B 25(1984) ; Printed for W. Armstrong, Banastre street, Liverpool, between 1820 and 1824.

Broadside #2. A Virgin Unspotted, Douce adds. 137(21) ; Printed by T. Bloomer, 53. Edgbaston street, Birmingham, between 1821 and 1827.

Broadside #3. The Virgin Unspotted, Douce adds. 137(67) ; Printed by D. Wrighton, No. 86, Snow Hill, Birmingham; no date. 

 

The details concerning the differences are summarized below:

 

Broadside #1. A Virgin Unspotted, Harding B 25(1984)

Roud Number: 1378; Edition: Bod3794

Title: The virgin unspotted

First Line: A Virgin unspotted the prophets foretold

Image: http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/15000/10309.gif

Printed for W. Armstrong, Banastre street, Liverpool, between 1820 and 1824.

Differences from the text found above:

2. Through Bethlehem City in Judea it was,
Where Joseph and Mary together did pass,
And for to be taxed when thither they came,
Since Caesar Augustus commanded the same.

None of the verses is followed by the word “Chorus” or by the first two words of the chorus, as occurs on other broadsides. However, after the sixth verse there is printed this Chorus.

Chorus:
Then let us be merry, cast sorrow away
Our Saviour, Christ Jesus was born on this day.

Regular chorus is:

Therefore let us be merry cast sorrow away,
Our Saviour, Christ Jesus, was born on this day.

 

Broadside #2. A Virgin Unspotted, Douce adds. 137(21)

Roud Number: 1378; Edition: Bod22761

Printed by T. Bloomer, 53, Edgbaston Street, Birmingham between 1821 and 1827

Title: The Virgin Unspotted

First Line: A Virgin unspotted the prophets foretold

Image: http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/15000/14949.gif

Headline: A Virgin Unspotted.

Printed by T. Bloomer, 53. Edgbaston street, Birmingham, between 1821 and 1827.

Differences from the text found above:

Chorus:
Therefore let's be merry cast sorrow away,
Our saviour Christ Jesus was born on this day.

4. But Mary, blest Mary, so meek and so mild,
Soon wrapped in swaddling the heavenly child
Contented she laid him where oxen were fed,
The great God of mercy approved the deed. [last word deformed]
        Then let us be merry, &c.

 

Broadside #3. The Virgin Unspotted, Douce adds. 137(67)

Roud Number: 1378; Edition: Bod24142

Printed by D. Wrighton, No. 86, Snow Hill, Birmingham; no date.

Image: http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/15000/14995.gif

Title: “The Virgin Unspotted"

Broadside has a Woodcut and second carol with a prominent title:

“O Fair Jerusalem,
A Carol.”

Differences from the text found above:

4. But Mary, blest Mary, so meek and so mild,
Soon wrapped in swaddling this heavenly Child
Contented she laid Him where Oxen were fed,
The great GOD of mercy approved the deed. [last word clear]
        Then let us be merry, &c.

5. To teach us humility all this was done,
Then learn we from hence all imprudence to shun:
A Manger his Cradle who came from above.
The great GOD of mercy, of peace, & of love.
        Then let us be merry, &c.

6. Then presently after the Shepherds did spy
Vast number of Angels to stand in the Sky,
All happy they converse, so sweet they did sing,
All glory & praise to our heavenly King.
        Then let us be merry, &c.

 

The broadsides containing this carol on this website, with slightly different lyrics, include:

        And see: A Virgin Most Pure - Sandys, 1833 and In Bethlehem City - R.V. Williams.

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