Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
107. The Three Kings

NOW is Christëmas y-come,
Father and Son together in one,
Holy Ghost us be on
    In fere-a;
  God send us a good New Year-a!        5

I would you sing, for and I might,
Of a Child is fair in sight;
His mother him bare this endris night
    So still-a,
  And as it was his will-a.        10

There came three Kings from Galilee
Into Bethlehem, that fair citie,
To seek to Him that e’er should be
    By right-a
  Lord and king and knight-a.        15

As they came forth with their off’ ring,
They met with Herod that moody king;
He askéd them of their coming
    This tide-a,
  And this to them he said-a.        20

‘Of whence be ye, you Kingés three?’—
‘Of the East, as you may see,
To seek to Him that should ever be
    By right-a
  Lord and king and knight-a.’—        25

‘When you at this Child have been,
Come you home this way again;
Tell me the sight that you have seen;
    I pray-a,
  Go you none other way-a.’        30

They took their leave both old and ying
Then of Herod that moody king;
They went forth with their offering
    By light-a
  Of the star that shone so bright-a.        35

Till they came into the place
Where Jesu and his mother was;
Offer’d they up with great solace
    In fere-a
  Gold, incense and myrrh-a.        40

When they had their offering made
As the Holy Ghost them bade,
Then they were both merry and glad
    And light-a;
  It was a good fair sight-a.        45

Anon, as on their way they went,
The Father of heaven an angel sent
To these three kings that made present
    This tide-a,
  And this to them he said-a:—        50

‘My Lord hath warn’d you every one
By Herod king you go not home,
For an you do he will you slone
    And ’stroy-a,
  And hurt you wonderly-a.’        55

So forth they went another way
Through the might of God his lay,
As the angel to them did say,
    Full right-a;
  It was a good fair sight-a.        60

When they came home to their countrie,
Glad and blithe they were all three
Of the sight that they had see;
    By dene-a
  The company was clean-a.        65

Kneel we now here a-down;
Pray we in good devotion
To the King of great renown,
    Of grace-a
  In heaven to have a place-a.        70
GLOSS:  In fere] in company.  endris] last.  ying] young.  slone] slay.  lay] law.  By dene] at once, or all together.


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