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Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd [Xmas]

Jim Dixon 26 Dec 10 - 12:18 AM
maeve 26 Dec 10 - 12:20 AM
giles earle 26 Dec 10 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Dec 10 - 10:35 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Dec 10 - 12:28 AM
giles earle 27 Dec 10 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Dec 10 - 10:39 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LET ALL THAT ARE TO MIRTH INCLIN'D
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 12:18 AM

From the Bodleian Ballad collection, Harding B 7(49).

I have broken the text into 4-line stanzas although it is continuous in the broadside.

This is an unusual Christmas carol in that it tries to tell the whole story of Jesus' life and its theological significance; not just his birth. I wonder why it stops before the resurrection?


A New Christmas Carol

Let all that are to mirth inclin'd,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.

Let all our songs and praises be
Unto His heavenly majesty,
And evermore amongst our mirth,
Remember Christ, our Saviour's birth.

The twenty-fifth day of December,
We have great reason to remember,
In Bethlehem upon this morn,
There was the bless'd Messiah born.

The night before this happy tide
The spotless Virgin and her guide
Were long seeking up and down
To find some lodging in the town.

But mark how all things come to pass,
The inn and lodgings filled was
That they could have no room at all
But in a silly oxen's stall.

This night the Virgin Mary mild,
Was safe delivered of a Child,
According unto Heaven's decree
Man's God and Saviour for to be.

Near Bethlehem some shepherds kept
And watch'd their flocks while others slept,
To whom God's angel did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.

"Prepare and go", the angel said,
"To Bethlehem. Be not afraid.
There you shall see this blessed morn
The blessed Son, sweet Jesus, born."

With thankful hearts and joyful minds,
The shepherds went this babe to find,
And as the heavenly angel told,
They did our Saviour Christ behold.

Within a manger, He was laid.
The Virgin Mary by him staid,
Attending on the Lord of Life,
Being both mother, maid and wife.

Three eastern wise men from afar,
Directed by a glorious star,
Came boldly on and made no stay
Until they came where Jesus lay.

And when they came unto the place
Where the blessed Messiah was,
They humbly laid before his feet
Great gifts of gold and odour sweet.

See how the Lord of Heaven and earth
Shewed himself lowly in his birth,
A sweet example for mankind,
To learn to bear an humble mind.

No costly robes nor rich attire
Did Jesus Christ our Lord desire,
No music nor sweet harmony
Till glorious music from on high

Did in melodious manner sing
Praises to our heavenly King,
All honour, glory, might and power,
Be unto Christ our Saviour.

If choirs of angels did rejoice
Well may mankind with heart and voice
Sing praises to the God of Heaven
Who unto us his Son has given.

Moreover let us every one
Call to mind and think upon
His righteous life, and how He died
To have poor sinners justified.

Suppose, O man, that thou shouldst lie
In prison strong, condemn'd to die,
And that no man upon the earth
Could ransom thee from cruel death,

Except you can some person find
That for your sake would be so kind
Freely to part with his own blood
To save thy life, to do thee good.

Such was the love of Christ when we
Must else have lain perpetually
In Hell; our souls from thence to save
Himself a sacrifice he gave.

Whilst in this world he did remain,
He never pass'd a day in vain.
In fasting, preaching, prayer divine,
In doing good he spent his time.

He daily in the temple taught
And many miracles he wrought.
He gave the blind their perfect sight
And made the lame to walk upright.

He cur'd the lepers of their evils,
And by his power cast out devils.
He called Lazarus from the grave,
And to the sick their health he gave.

And yet for all his good works wrought,
The Jews his fell destruction sought.
The traitor Judas was the man
That with a kiss betray'd him then,

That he was led to Justice Hall
Like one despis'd amongst them all,
And had the sentence given that he
Must suffer death upon a tree.

Under the execution place,
They brought him on with much disgrace.
With vile reproachful taunts and scorns
They put on him a crown of thorns.

Then to the cross through hands and feet,
They nail'd him fast—but, oh! how great
Must be the pain and anguish he
There suffer'd on the accursed tree.

But that's not all; to augment the smart,
With bloody spears they pierc'd his heart.
Thus have you seen and heard aright
The love of Christ, the Lord of might,
And how he shed his precious blood
Only to do us sinners good.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all who are to mirth inclin'd
From: maeve
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 12:20 AM

Thank you, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd
From: giles earle
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 02:29 PM

Interesting to compare the broadside with the much shorter text of Wexford carol, which I know with just four verses (although I gather there's a fifth verse, about the Magi):

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God's angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
"Prepare and go", the angels said,
"To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you'll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born."

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God's angel has foretold,
They did our Saviour Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.


According to Wikipedia, the song (presumably the Irish version(?)) dates to the 12th Century. Does anyone know anything to substantiate that date?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 10:35 PM

Thanks very much Jim. I feel a new Christmas song coming on already. I don't believe it will have all 28 verses, though.

I've followed your link, and all I see is the broadside itself and its number. Do we know when the broadside was published? My guess is late 1600's. What do you think?

You ask why they omitted the resurrection. I believe they simply ran out of paper.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:28 AM

The catalog of the Bodleian collection gives no date for Harding B 7(49), but Harding B 7(50) is very similar (although less legible). The date given for that is "between 1813 and 1820."

It's also in The Roxburghe Ballads, Volume 7 by Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford: The Ballad Society, 1890), page 801. There it is said on page 796 to date from 1750.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd
From: giles earle
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:25 AM

It seems to be possible to trace Let all that are for mirth inclin'd and/or All you that are for mirth inclin'd back to the latter 17th century. Dates of 1684 and 1656 are quoted in various sources, with an assertion that the ballad may actually be somewhat older.

What remains a mystery is the assertion in Wikipedia of 12th century origins, for the Wexford Carol version. I can only imagine this claim relates purely to the Irish text.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Let all that are to mirth inclin'd
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 10:39 AM

Thanks for the info, Jim and Giles.

Giles, I agree with you about the Wexford Carol. It seems to have been written by William Devereaux in the 18th Century. See the Hymns and Carols of Christmas (IIRC) site for more info.

As I ate my toast this morning, I played the Wexford Carol in my head, and I realized that though it sounds old and mysterious, it has a modern form: AABA with slight modifications at the ends of the A lines. Its highest note is at the beginning of the B line, a thing I often see in dance tunes.

The key change in the middle (in my version, from G to Dm) is unusual. I believe that accounts for the mysterious effect.


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