Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas to all our readers

The Bitter Withy
As it fell out on a high holiday
Small rain from heaven did fall,
Sweet Jesus asked his mother dear
If he might play at ball.

"To play, to play," dear child she did say
"It's time that you were gone
And don't let me hear of any mischief
At night when you come home."

So it's up the hill and down the hill
Our sweet young savior ran,
And there he met three rich young lords,
Good morning to each one.

"Good morn," "Good morn," "Good morn," they said,
"Good morning," then said he,
And which of you three fine children
Will play at the ball with me?

Oh, we are lords and ladies sons
Born in a bower and hall
And you are nothing but a poor maid's child
Born in an oxen stall.

Well, if I'm nothing but a poor maid's child
Born in an oxen stall,
I'll make you believe in your latter end,
For I'm an angel above you all.

So he built a him a bridge of the beams of the sun
And over the water ran he,
Them three little lords followed after him
Drowned they were all three.

So it's up the hill and down the hill
Three rich young mothers ran,
Crying, "Mary mild, fetch home your child,
For ours he's drownded each one."

So Mary mild fetched home her child,
And laid him across her knee,
And with a handful of withy twigs
She gave him slashes three.

Oh bitter withy, oh bitter withy,
You've caused me to smart,
And the withy shall be the very first tree
To perish at the heart.

These words are taken from the Golden Hind Music site. For a discussion of the song's history (and a different version) see The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.

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