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The Cherry Tree Carol 11

1. Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he,
When he married Mary
The Queen of Galilee.

2. Joseph and Mary walked
Through a garden gay,
Where the cherries they grew
Upon every tree.

3. Joseph and Mary walked
Through an orchard good
Where were cherries and berries
As red as any blood.1

Joseph upon learning that the union with his "cousin Mary" is about to be blessed by a babe, suddenly becomes jealous
and unkind. The carol continues:

4. O then bespoke Mary,
With words both meek and mild,
"Gather me some cherries, Joseph,
They run so in my mind.

The next verse gives Joseph's uncouth answer, that if she wants cherries she must ask somebody else to gather them for
her, as he is not inclined to do so. The spirit of the unborn Jesus, however, hears the rebuke, and he commands his

5. "Go to the tree, Mary,
And it shall bow to thee,
And the highest branch of all
Shall bow down to Mary's knee.

6. "Go to the tree, Mary,
And it shall bow to thee,
And you shall gather cherries,
By one, by two, and three."

7. Then bowed down the highest tree
Unto his Mother's hand:
"See," Mary cried, "see, Joseph,
I have cherries at command!"2

Joseph relents at the harsh words he has spoken, and replies:

8. "O eat your cherries, Mary,
O eat your cherries now,
O eat your cherries, Mary,
That grow upon the bough."3

Time is supposed to have elapsed, and the scene has changed.

9. As Joseph was a-walking
He heard an angel sing:
"This night shall be born
Our Heavenly King;

10. "He neither shall be born
In housen, nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox's stall;

11. "He neither shall be clothed,
In purple nor in pall
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all:

12. "He neither shall be rocked
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle,
That rocks on the mould;

13. "He neither shall be cristened
In white wine nor red,
But with fair spring water
With which we were christened."

More time has elapsed, and the scene again changes.

14. Then Mary took her young Son,
And set him on her knee:
"I pray thee now, dear child,
Tell how this world shall be?"

15. "O, I shall be as dead, Mother,
As the stones in the wall;
O, the stones in the street, Mother,
Shall mourn for me all.4

16. "And upon a Wednesday
My vow I will make,
And upon Good Friday
My death I will take;

17. "Upon Easter-day, Mother
My uprising shall be;
Oh, the sun and the moon, Mother,
Shall both rise with me."

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