Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
102. The Carnal and the Crane
 
 
I

AS I pass’d by a river side,
  And there as I did reign,
In argument I chanced to hear
  A Carnal and a Crane.
 
II

The Carnal said unto the Crane,
        5
  ‘If all the world should turn,
Before we had the Father,
  But now we have the Son!
 
III

‘From whence does the Son come?
  From where and from what place?’—        10
He said, ‘In a manger,
  Between an ox and an ass!’
 
IV

‘I pray thee,’ said the Carnal,
  ‘Tell me before thou go’st,
Was not the mother of Jesus        15
  Conceived by the Holy Ghost?’—
 
V

‘She was the purest Virgin,
  And the cleanest from sin;
She was the handmaid of our Lord,
  And mother of our King.’—        20
 
VI

‘Where is the golden cradle
  That Christ was rockéd in?
Where are the silken sheets
  That Jesus was wrapt in?’—
 
VII

‘A manger was the cradle
        25
  That Christ was rockéd in;
The provender the asses left
  So sweetly he slept on.
 
VIII

‘There was a star in the West land,
  So bright did it appear        30
Into King Herod’s chamber,
  And where King Herod were.
 
IX

‘The Wise Men soon espied it,
  And told the king on high,
A princely babe was born that night        35
  No king could e’er destroy.
 
X

‘If this be true, King Herod said,
  As thou tellest unto me,
This roasted cock that lies in the dish
  Shall crow full fences three.        40
 
XI

‘The cock soon freshly feathered was
  By the work of God’s own hand,
And then three fences crowéd he
  In the dish where he did stand.
 
XII

‘Rise up, rise up, you merry men all,
        45
  See that you ready be,
All children under two years old
  Now slain they all shall be.
 
XIII

‘Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph,
  And Mary, that was so pure,        50
They travelled into Egypt,
  As you shall find it sure.
 
XIV

‘And when they came to Egypt’s land,
  Amongst those fierce wild beasts,
Mary, she being weary,        55
  Must needs sit down to rest.
 
XV

‘Come sit thee down, says Jesus,
  Come sit thee down by me,
And thou shalt see how these wild beasts
  Do come and worship me.        60
 
XVI

‘First came the lovely lion,
  Which Jesu’s grace did spring,
And of the wild beasts in the field,
  The lion shall be the king.
 
XVII

‘We’ll choose our virtuous princes,
        65
  Of birth and high degree,
In every sundry nation,
  Where’er we come and see.
 
XVIII

‘Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph,
  And Mary, that was unknown,        70
They travelled by a husbandman,
  Just while his seed was sown.
 
XIX

‘God speed thee, man! said Jesus,
  Go fetch thy ox and wain,
And carry home thy corn again,        75
  Which thou this day hast sown.
 
XX

‘The husbandman fell on his knees,
  Even before his face;
Long time hast thou been looked for,
  But now thou art come at last.        80
 
XXI

‘And I myself do now believe
  Thy name is Jesus called;
Redeemer of mankind thou art,
  Though undeserving all.
 
XXII

‘The truth, man, thou hast spoken,
        85
  Of it thou may’st be sure,
For I must lose my precious blood
  For thee and thousands more.
 
XXIII

‘If any one should come this way,
  And inquire for me alone,        90
Tell them that Jesus passéd by,
  As thou thy seed did sow.
 
XXIV

‘After that there came King Herod,
  With his train so furiously,
Inquiring of the husbandman,        95
  Whether Jesus passéd by.
 
XXV

‘Why, the truth it must be spoke,
  And the truth it must be known,
For Jesus passéd by this way
  When my seed was sown.        100
 
XXVI

‘But now I have it reapen,
  And some laid on my wain,
Ready to fetch and carry
  Into my barn again.
 
XXVII

‘Turn back, says the Captain,
        105
  Your labour and mine ’s in vain,
It’s full three-quarters of a year
  Since he his seed has sown.
 
XXVIII

‘So Herod was deceivèd
  By the work of God’s own hand,        110
And further he proceeded
  Into the Holy Land.
 
XXIX

‘There’s thousands of children young,
  Which for his sake did die,—
Do not forbid those little ones,        115
  And do not them deny.
 
XXX

‘The truth now I have spoken,
  And the truth now I have shown
Even the blessed Virgin,
  She ’s now brought forth a Son.’        120
 
GLOSS:  Carnal] crow.  reign] run.  fences] times.
 

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