English Folk-Carols/The Virgin Unspotted

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1. The Virgin unspotted the Prophets foretold
Should bring forth a Saviour, which now you behold,
To be our Redeemer, from death, hell and sin,
Which Adam's transgressions involved us in.
Then let us be merry,
Cast sorrow away.
Our Saviour Christ Jesus
Is born on this day.

2. Through Bethlehem city, in Judah, it was
That Joseph and Mary together did pass;
All for to be tax-ed 'twas there that they came.
Since Cssar Augustus commanded the same.
Then let us, etc., etc.

3. Now Mary's full time being come, as we find.
She brought forth Her First-born to save all mankind
The Inn being so full for this heavenly guest.
No place could be found for to lay Him to rest.
Then let us, etc., etc.

4. Then presently after the shepherds did spy
Vast numbers of angels for to stand in the sky;
How happy they conversed! so sweet did they sing:
All glory and praise to our Heavenly King.
Then let us be merry,
Cast sorrow away.
Our Saviour Christ Jesus,
Is born on this day.

Cecil Sharp's note[edit]

Sung by the late Mr. Henry Thomas of Chipping Sodbury.

The first and second stanzas are exactly as Mr. Thomas sang them to me. The third lines of the second and fourth stanzas, being obviously corrupt, have been amended; while the last word of the concluding stanza, "Son", has been altered to "King".

The words in the text are almost identical with those printed on broadsides by Wood of Birmingham and Cotton of Tamworth. In making the above mentioned alterations I have been guided by these broadsides, from one of which, in all probability, Mr. Thomas originally learned his words.

Traditional versions of this carol, with tunes, are printed in Davies Gilbert's and Sandys's collections.[1]


  1. Ibid. p. 66

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.