Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Cherry Tree Carol



When Joseph was an old man,
An old man was he,
He married Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee,
He married Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee.


As Joseph and Mary
Walked through an orchard green,
There were apples and cherries
Plenty there to be seen,
There were apples and cherries
Plenty there to be seen.


Then Mary spoke to Joseph,
So meek and so mild,
"Joseph, gather me some cherries,
For I am with Child,
Joseph, gather me some cherries,
For I am with Child."

Then Joseph flew in anger,
In anger flew he,
"Let the father of the baby
Gather cherries for thee,
Let the father of the baby
Gather cherries for thee."


Then Jesus spoke a few words,
A few words spoke He,
"Let my mother have some cherries,
Bow low down, cherry tree,
Let my mother have some cherries,
Bow low down, cherry tree."


The cherry tree bowed low down,
Bowed low down to the ground,
And Mary gathered cherries,
While Joseph stood around,
And Mary gathered cherries,
While Joseph stood around.

Then Joseph took Mary
All on his right knee:
"Oh, what have I done, Lord?
Have mercy on me.
Oh, what have I done, Lord?
Have mercy on me."


Then Joseph took Mary
All on his left knee:
"Oh, tell me, little Baby,
When Thy Birthday will be,
Oh, tell me, little Baby,
When Thy Birthday will be."


"On the fifth day of January
My Birthday will be,
When the stars and the elements
Shall tremble with fear,
When the stars and the elements
Shall tremble with fear."

There are many variants on this, which is no surprise. Quiller-Couch preserved a much longer one, which goes all the way to Easter. This version intrigues me because it hearkens back to the days before the Gregorian Calendar, when the birth of Christ was celebrated on what is now Epiphany (and preserved as such to keep everyone happy when the calendar changed and Christmas came even earlier than usual).

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