Christmas is Now Drawing Near at Hand Christmas is now drawing near at hand Come serve the Lord and be at His command And God a portion for you will provide And give a blessing to your soul besides Down in the garden where flowers growing ranks Down on your bended knees and give the Lord thanks Down on your knees and pray both night and day Leave off your sins and live fro' pray tae pray So proud and lofty is some sort of sin Which many take delight and pleasure in Whose conversation God doth smirch as lie And yet He shakes His sword before He stri' So proud and lofty do some people go Dressing theirselves like players in a show They patch and paint and dress with idle stuff As if God had not made 'em fine enough Even little children learn to curse and swear And can't rehearse one word of godly prayer Oh teach them better, oh teach them to rely On Christ the sinner's friend who reigns on high ---------------------------------------------------- sung by Lal Waterson on the Watersons' "Frost And Fire" (1965) "This moralising carol was much used by beggars and others towards Christmas time. Its tune turns over and again attached to such carols as "The Fountain of Christ's Blood", "Have You Not Heard of our Dear Saviour's Love" and "The Black Decree", also to the favourite old dialogue-ballad of "Death and the Lady", traceable to the sixteenth century. Here it is... in a form common among gipsies habitually drifting through the West Midlands half a century ago." - A.L. Lloyd 1965 For a Christmas carol, there is precious little Christmas in this one, but instead plenty of moralising. I would have turned away any beggar who sang a carol like this to me. After all he wants my "idle stuff". MJ MJ
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!