I Saw Three Ships

Godtube Staff I Saw Three Ships
"I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)" is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England. The earliest published version of "I Saw Three Ships" is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was later printed by William Sandys in 1833. Find the lyrics of this beloved Christmas carol and the story of its meaning below!

1 I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

2 And who was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And whp was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

3 Our Saviour Christ and his ladye,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Our Saviour Christ and his ladye,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

4 Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

5 O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

6 And all the bells on Earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on Earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

7 And all the angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

8. And all the souls on Earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the souls on Earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Songwriters Original Unknown Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind I Saw Three Ships

The lyrics mention the ships sailing into Bethlehem, but the nearest body of water is the Dead Sea about 20 miles away. The reference to three ships is believed to from the three ships that carried the relics of the Biblical magi to Cologne Cathedral in the 12th century. Another possible reference is to Wenceslaus II, King of Bohemia, who bore a coat of arms "Azure three galleys argent". Another suggestion is that the ships are actually the camels used by the Magi, as camels are commonly referred to as "ships of the desert".

Watch an epic performance of this Christmas carol in the video below!


Piano Controls Over 500,000 Christmas Lights

Today's Devotional

A Prayer to Fight Feelings of Shame - Your Daily Prayer - October 27

My most consistent spiritual discipline has been shaming myself about spiritual disciplines. Is that really what God wants for me?

read more