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Dives and Lazarus

No: 56; variant: 56A

Source: a. Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, p. 50, from an old Birmingham broadside. b. Husk, Songs of the Nativity, p. 94, from a Worcestershire broadside of the last century.

  1. As it fell out upon a day, Rich Dives he made a feast, And he invited all his friends, And gentry of the best.
  2. Then Lazarus laid him down and down, And down at Dives’ door: ‘Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, Bestow upon the poor.’
  3. ‘Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my door; No meat nor drink will I give thee, Nor bestow upon the poor.’
  4. Then Lazarus laid him down and down, And down at Dive’s wall: ‘Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, Or with hunger starve I shall.’
  5. ‘Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my wall; No meat nor drink will I give thee, But with hunger starve you shall.’
  6. Then Lazarus laid him down and down, And down at Dive’s gate: ‘Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, For Jesus Christ sake.’
  7. ‘Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, That lies begging at my gate; No meat nor drink will I give thee, For Jesus Christ his sake.’
  8. Then Dives sent out his merry men, To whip poor Lazarus away; They had no power to strike a stroke, But flung their whips away.
  9. Then Dives sent out his hungry dogs, To bite him as he lay; They had no power to bite at all, But licked his sores away.
  10. As it fell out upon a day, Poor Lazarus sickened and died; Then came two angels out of heaven His soul therein to guide.
  11. ‘Rise up, rise up, brother Lazarus, And go along with me; For you’ve a place prepared in heaven, To sit on an angel’s knee.’
  12. As it fell out upon a day, Rich Dives sickened and died; Then came two serpents out of hell, His soul therein to guide.
  13. ‘Rise up, rise up, brother Dives, And go with us to see A dismal place, prepared in hell, From which thou canst not flee.’
  14. Then Dives looked up with his eyes, And saw poor Lazarus blest: ‘Give me one drop of water, brother Lazarus, To quench my flaming thirst.
  15. ‘Oh had I as many years to abide As there are blades of grass, Then there would be an end, but now Hell’s pains will ne’er be past.
  16. ‘Oh was I now but alive again, The space of one half hour’ Oh that I had my peace secure’ Then the devil should have no power.’