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The Cherry-Tree Carol

No: 54; variant: 54C

  1. JOSEPH was an old man, an old man was he, He married sweet Mary, the Queen of Galilee.
  2. As they went a walking in the garden so gay, Maid Mary spied cherries, hanging over yon tree.
  3. Mary said to Joseph, with her sweet lips so mild, ‘Pluck those cherries, Joseph, for to give to my child.’
  4. O then replied Joseph, with words so unkind, ‘I will pluck no cherries for to give to thy child.’
  5. Mary said to cherry-tree, ‘Bow down to my knee, That I may pluck cherries, by one, two, and three.’
  6. The uppermost sprig then bowed down to her knee: ‘Thus you may see, Joseph, these cherries are for me.’
  7. ‘O eat your cherries, Mary, O eat your cherries now, O eat your cherries, Mary, that grow upon the bough.’
  8. As Joseph was a walking he heard angels sing, ‘This night there shall be born our heavenly king.
  9. ‘He neither shall be born in house nor in hall, Nor in the place of Paradise, but in an ox-stall.
  10. ‘He shall not be clothed in purple nor pall, But all in fair linen, as wear babies all.
  11. ‘He shall not be rocked in silver nor gold, But in a wooden cradle, that rocks on the mould.
  12. ‘He neither shall be christened in milk nor in wine, But in pure spring-well water, fresh sprung from Bethine.’
  13. Mary took her baby, she dressed him so sweet; She laid him in a manger, all there for to sleep.
  14. As she stood over him she heard angels sing, ‘Oh bless our dear Saviour, our heavenly king.’