The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Welcome Yule

Alternate Title: Welcome Be Thou, Heaven-king

For Christmas

Words: From the Sloane MS

Music: Air from Deuteromelia, 1609

Source: Carol 673, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New
(Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)
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1. Welcome be thou, heaven-king,
Welcome born in one morning,
Welcome for whom we shall sing,
Welcome for whom we shall sing,
Welcome Yule.1

2. Welcome be ye, Stephan and John,
Welcome Innocents every one
Welcome Thomas Martyr one,
Welcome Thomas Marty one,
Welcome Yule.

3. Welcome be ye, good New Year,
Welcome Twelfth Day, both in fere,2
Welcome saints lef and dear,
Welcome saints lef and dear,
Welcome Yule.

4. Welcome be ye Candlemas,
Welcome be ye, Queen of Bliss,
Welcome both to more and less,3
Welcome both to more and less,
Welcome Yule.

5. Welcome be ye that are here,
Welcome all and make good cheer;
Welcome all, another year,
Welcome all, another year,
Welcome Yule.

Notes from Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861)

1. Yule is the Anglo-Saxon for Christmas. Return

2. In company. Return

3. Great and small. Return

Additional note from Sylvester:

This early carol (temp. Henry VI.) is given by Ritson in his "Ancient Songs and Ballads," with its mixture of Scriptural allusions and invitations to worldly enjoyment, was, doubtless, one of those sung by the tribe of professional minstrels during the several periods of feasting into which the day of Yule was divided. It was thought at first that it could scarcely be classed as religious, yet was that element found so predominant that it has been included in this part.

In the version printed by Sylvester, the doubling of the third line is omitted.

Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvestre" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New
(Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol 673

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This is one of many "counting" songs among the hymns and carols of Christmas. See the notes to the Twelve Days of Christmas.

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