The Holly and the Ivy

GodTube Staff The Holly and the Ivy
"The Holly and the Ivy" is a traditional British folk Christmas carol. This beautiful traditional hymn celebrates the Christian meaning of Christmas in the birth of Jesus Christ. Find the lyrics of this beloved carol and video performances below!

1 The holly and the ivy
when they are both full grown,
of all the trees that are in the wood
the holly bears the crown.

Refrain:
The rising of the sun
and the running of the deer,
the playing of the merry organ,
sweet singing in the choir.

2 The holly bears a blossom,
white as the lily flower,
and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
to be our sweet Saviour. [Refrain]

3 The holly bears a berry,
as red as any blood,
and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
to do poor sinners good. [Refrain]

4 The holly bears a prickle,
as sharp as any thorn,
and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
on Christmas day in the morn. [Refrain]

5 The holly bears a bark,
as bitter as any gall,
and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
for to redeem us all. [Refrain]

6 The holly and the ivy,
when they are both full grown,
of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown. [Refrain]

Source: Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #645

Songwriters Unknown Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind The Holly and the Ivy

According to Wikipedia,

The words of the carol occur in three broadsides published in Birmingham in the early nineteenth century.

An early mention of the carol's title occurs in William Hone's 1823 work Ancient Mysteries Described, which includes "The holly and the ivy, now are both well grown" among an alphabetical list of "Christmas Carols, now annually printed" that were in the author's possession.

The words of the carol were included in Sylvester's 1861 collection A Garland of Christmas Carols where it is claimed to originate from "an old broadside, printed a century and a half since" [i.e. around 1711]: Husk's 1864 Songs of the Nativity also includes the carol, stating:

This carol appears to have nearly escaped the notice of collectors, as it has been reprinted by one alone, who states his copy to have been taken from "an old broadside, printed a century and a half since," i.e. about 1710. It is still retained on the broadsides printed at Birmingham.


The Holly the ivy (dungworth)

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