The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Carol On The Birth Of Christ

Words: Thomas Tusser (ca. 1515-1580)
Five Hundred Points Of Good Husbandry

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

Was not Christ our Saviour
    Sent unto us from God above,
Not for our good behaviour,
    But only of His mercy and love?
If this be true, as true it is,
    Truly indeed;
Great thanks to God to yield for this
    Then had we need.

This did our God for very troth,
    To train to him the soul of man,
And justly to perform his oath:
    To Sarah and to Abraham, than
That through his seed, all nations should
    Most blessed be,
As in due time performed, he would
    All flesh should see.

Which wondrously is brought o pass,
    And in our sight already done,
By sending, as His promise was
    (To comfort us), His only Son,
Even Christ, I mean, that virgin's Child
    In Bethlehem born:
That Lamb of God, that Prophet mild,
    With crowned thorn.

Such was His love to save us all,
    From dangers of the curse of God,
That we stood in by Adam's fall,
    And by our own deserved rod.
That through His blood and holy name,
    All that believe,
And fly from sin, and abhor the same,
    Shall grace receive.

For this good news, this feast doth bring,
    To God, the Son, and Holy Ghost,
Let man give thanks, rejoice and sing,
    From world to world, from coast to coast.
For other gifts in many ways,
    That God doth send,
Let us in Christ give God the praise.
    Till life shall end.


Vizetelly provides the following description of Tusser:

    Thomas Tusser, a georgical poet of great popularity in his own and the succeeding age, was born about 1515, and died in 1580. He was chorister and agriculturist by turns. He great merit consists in his poems being faithful pictures of the manners, customs, and domestic life of the English farmer of that day; and in the morality piety, and benevolent simplicity which pervade all that he has written.

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