The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Old Father Jacob

Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)

1. When old Father Jacob was ready to die,
He call'd for his twelve sons whereas he did lie,
And by inspiration of power divine
He told them their fortune, as God did design.

Chorus
And therefore be merry,
    The joys of all Angels and Saints let us sing,
For the birth of our Saviour,
    Priest, Prophet, and King.

2. Reuben, my first born and eldest art thou,
The strength of my loins, and son of my vow,
But since thou with incest my bed hast defiled,
This day from thy birthright I have thee exil'd. Chorus

3. Judah, thou ordain'd unto that title art,
From whom law and sceptre shall never depart,
Until that Christ come whom the people shall serve,
Who by his own merits the world shall preserve. Chorus

4. Moses, that excellent prophet and clerk,
Confirmeth the saying of this patriarch;
For shewing that God in his likeness would raise
A prophet to Israel in the latter days. Chorus

5. With whom all the prophets in witness agree,
As by the Old Testament plain you may see,
That on a pure Virgin this thing shall be done,
That God here on earth would have born him a son. Chorus

6. And as holy Angels in the heavenly choir,
With infinite carols and music intire,
To join in one concert let some time be spent,
To fill with Hosannas earth and firmament. Chorus

7. Let all the Lord's people accompany me
To worship one Godhead, tho' in persons three;
And now we have found one our loss to repair,
With joy welcome Christmas, and banish despair. Chorus