Friday, January 24, 2014


Text of an old French carol. The words are at least five hundred years old. The tune, if you could listen to is at least as old and has been used many times over the centuries.  The carol can be sung, but parts can also be parceled out and the carol presented as a small play. Information from A Treasury of Christmas Songs and Carols. Still haven't found a version of this carol. Face slap. I don't know why I didn't think of this before Christmas. I took pictures of the pages and I'm posting them just for the heck of it.

IN THE TOWN (yes, that really is the name of the carol)

1. Joseph
   Take heart, the journey’s ended: I can see the twinkling lights.
   Where we shall be befriended on this the night of nights.

    Now, praise the Lord that led us so safe unto the town,
    Where men shall feed and bed us, and I can lay me down.

2. Joseph
    And how then shall we praise Him? Alas my heart is sore
    That we no gifts can raise Him who are so very poor.

    We have as much as any that on the earth do live,
    Although we have no penny, we have ourselves to give.

3. Joseph
    Look yonder, wife, look yonder a hostelry I see,
    Where travelers who wander shall very welcome be.

    The house is tall and stately, the door stands open thus;
    Yet husband, I fear greatly, that in is not for us.

4. Joseph
    God save you gentle master, your smallest room indeed,
    With plainest rooms of plaster tonight will serve our need.

    For lordlings and for ladies I’ve lodging and to spare,
    For you and yonder maid is no closet anywhere.

5. Joseph
    God save you, Hostess kindly I pray you house my wife.
    Who bears beside my blindly the burden of her life.

    My guests are rich men’s daughters and sons I’ll have you know!
    Seek out the poorer quarters where ragged people go.

6. Joseph
    Good sir, my wife’s in labor, some corner let us keep.
    Not I, knock up my neighbor, and as for me I’ll sleep.

    In all the lighted city where rich men welcome win,
    Will not one house for pity take two poor strangers in .

7.  Joseph
     Good woman, I implore you afford my wife a bed.

     Nay, nay I’ve nothing for you except a cattle shed.

    Then gladly in the manger our bodies we will house.
    Since men tonight are stranger than asses are and cows.

8.  Joseph
     Take heart take heart dear Mary the cattle are our friends
     Lie down, lie down sweet Mary for here our journey ends.

     Now praise the Lord that found me this shelter in the town.
     Where I with friends around me may lay my burden down.

I’ve only found this carol in this collection. Doesn’t mean it isn’t in others but I’ve never heard it performed either. 

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