English Folk-Carols/The truth sent from above

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English Folk-Carols
Anonymous
The truth sent from above
English folk carol of unknown authorship usually performed at Christmas. Collected in the early part of the 20th century by English folk song collectors in Shropshire and Herefordshire, a number of variations on the tune exist, but the text remains broadly similar. Ralph Vaughan Williams also collected a version, The Herefordshire Carol, which only included verses 1 to 5.

1. This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love;
Therefore don't turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.

2. The first thing, which I do relate,
That God at first did man create
The next thing, which to you I tell,
Woman was made with him to dwell.

3. Then after this, 'twas God's own choice
To place them both in Paradise,
There to remain from evil free
Except they ate of such a tree.

4. But they did eat, which was a sin,
And thus their ruin did begin;
Ruined themselves, both you and me,
And all of their posterity.

5. Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose
For so a promise soon did run
That He'd redeem us with a Son.

6. And at this season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear
He here did live, and here did preach,
And many thousands He did teach.

7. Thus He in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved
And if you want to know the way
Be pleased to hear what He did say.

8. Go preach the Gospel new, He said,
To all the nations that are made
And he that does believe in me,
From all his sins I'll set him free.

9. God grant to all within this place
True saving faith—that special grace,
Which to His people doth belong—
And thus I close my Christmas song.

Cecil Sharp's note[edit]

No. 18. THE TRUTH SENT FROM ABOVE
Sung by Mr. Seth Vandrell and Mr. Samuel Bradley of Donnington Wood, Shropshire.

This carol was sung to me by the two singers in unison, Mr. Vandrell refreshing his memory by referring to a small book of carols, printed locally, from which the words in the text have been transcribed. I have, however, omitted seven stanzas between the eighth and the last. "The Truth" is printed in A Good Christmas Box, and is included in Hone's list.

A version of this carol to a different tune and with four stanzas only of the words, noted by Dr. Vaughan Williams at King's Pyon, is printed in The Folk-Song Society's Journal (IV, p. 17). For a variant of the tune see "There is a Fountain" in the same publication (IV, p. 21).[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. Ibid., p.66
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.