Friday, December 10, 2010

Cherry Tree Carol

When Joseph was an old man,
An old man was he,
He courted our Mary,
The Queen of Galilee (2x)

And when he had wedded her
And home had her brought
she proved to be with child
though Joseph knew her not

As they went a walkin
In yonder fair grove
They saw cherries and berries
as red as any blood

Then up spoke young Mary
In words meek and mild
Won't you gather cherries, Joseph
For I am with child.

Then up spoke old Joseph
In words so unkind
Let him gather cherries, Mary
Who got thee with child

Then up spoke Christ Jesus
From within his mother's womb
Bow down thou cherry tree
For my mother to have some

Then the highest branches on the tree
bowed to Mother Mary's knee
And she gathered of the cherries
By one two and three

When Jesus was a young child
Mary dandled on her knee
She asked of her young son
What shall this world be

This world is no other than
the stones in the street
But the sun moon and stars
shall sail under thy feet

Child #54

There are allot of versions of this song. I learned this from Custer LaRue. This is one of the most popular of English religious folk ballads. Its tale derives from the Pseudo-Matthew gospel, and in medieval times was frequently dramatized in folk plays and mystery pageants including, among others, those performed by the Grey Friars in Coventry. Fuller versions of the ballad sometimes contain predictions of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection.

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