English Folk-Carols/The Ten Joys of Mary

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English Folk-Carols by [[Author:Anonymous|Anonymous]]
The Ten Joys of Mary
an English Marian folk carol of medieval origin usually performed at Christmas, most commonly performed today as "The Seven Joys of Mary". This regional variant was collected in the early part of the 20th century in Somerset, it was performed to Cecil Sharp by a Mrs. Jane Duddridge at Mark, Somerset]


1. The first great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of one,
To see her own Son Jesus
To suck at her breast bone;
To suck at her breast bone, good man,
How happy may you be;
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
And Christ to eternity.

2.The next great joy that Mary had.
It was the joy of two.
To see her own Son Jesus
To bring the lame to go;
To bring the lame to go, good man.
Etc., etc.

3. The next great joy that Mary had.
It was the joy of three.
To see her own Son Jesus
To bring the blind to see;
To bring the blind to see, good man,
Etc., etc.

4. The next great joy that Mary had.
It was the joy of four,
To see her own Son Jesus
To read the Bible o'er;
To read the Bible o'er, good man.
Etc., etc.

5. The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of five,
To see her own Son Jesus
To bring the dead to life;
To bring the dead to life, good man.
Etc., etc.

6. The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of six,
To see her own Son Jesus
To bear the crucifix;
To bear the crucifix, good man,
Etc., etc.

7. The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of seven.
To see her own Son Jesus
To wear the crown of Heaven;
To wear the crown of Heaven, good man.
Etc., etc.

8. The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of eight,
To see her own Son Jesus
To bring the crooked straight;
To bring the crooked straight, good man,
Etc., etc.

9 The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of nine.
To see her own Son Jesus
Turn water into wine;
Turn water into wine, good man,
Etc., etc.

l0. The next great joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of ten,
To see her own Son Jesus
Bring up ten gentlemen;
Bring up ten gentlemen, good man.
How happy may you be;
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
And Christ to eternity.

Cecil Sharp's note[edit]

No. 14. THE TEN JOYS OF MARY.
Sung by Mrs. Jane Duddridge at Mark, Somerset.

This carol has already been printed in Folk-Songs from Somerset (No. 125).

The words given in the text are those which Mrs. Duddridge sang to me. She learned them from her grandfather. Of several variants that I have collected all, with one exception, conclude with the seventh Joy. One version, however, noted in Gloucestershire, gives twelve Joys, the fourth lines of the last two stanzas running "To have the keys of heaven" and "To have the keys of hell."

The "ten gentlemen" in the Somerset variant may possibly refer to the cleansing of the ten lepers. The Gloucestershire singer sang "To write with a golden pen", which is probably a fanciful rendering invented for the sake of the rhyme.

Sandys prints two versions of the words, the first of which, "Joyis five", is from the Sloane MS. The scheme of this is similar to that of the Somerset carol but the wording is different. The other is almost identical with the first stanzas of Mrs. Duddridge's version.

The carol with a traditional air is in Bramlev and Stainer's collection. The words are on broadsides by Evans and Thompson.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. Ibid. p. 64
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.