Sunday, December 04, 2022

Choir of King's College, Cambridge: God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

This is a carol I always enjoyed singing, but we need to get a couple of grammatical points straight. Because look at that comma: there are no "merry gentlemen" here.

Wikipedia says:

The historic meaning of the phrase "God rest you merry" is "may God grant you peace and happiness".

And if you see the title printed as "God rest ye..." then it's phoney archaism.

Wikipedia again:

"Ye" would never have been correct, because "ye" is a subjective (nominative) pronoun only, never an objective (accusative) pronoun.

Glad we've sorted that. It's what Christmas is all about.


  1. David Allen Green has an amusing twitter thread about this every year. It is an instruction.. to rest merry.

  2. Do you know the version addressed to German psychiatrists - God rest you Jerry mentalmen?