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No, THIS is the worst Christmas carol lyric ever!

November 13, 2016

A couple of years ago I put up a post arguing that the second verse of “Oh come all ye faithful” had to be the worst Christmas carol lyric ever, with its risible line “Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb!” I thought that was going to be unbeatable for all time, but I’ve just come across another carol lyric which is even worse. Truly. And it’s also womb-related.

It comes from a mediaeval English song “The Cherry Tree Carol”, which the pub choir I sing in are practising for our Christmas concert. It’s a quaint old carol with a lovely melody. And it starts off very nicely, but then… oh dear.

The carol begins by pointing out that Joseph was an old man when he married Mary, “the Queen of Galilee”. So far so good. Then comes a verse about how they were walking through an orchard and Mary, being pregnant, got a craving for cherries, and asked Joseph if he could reach up and pluck her some – whereupon Joseph flies into a rage and says, with bitter sarcasm, “Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee”. Now that’s unexpected, and interesting; obviously Joseph hasn’t bought this virgin birth story at all. At this point I was quite taken with the way the carol dealt with an under-explored aspect of the Nativity story, the relationship between Mary and Joseph. But then it gets silly.

Verse 4 goes: “Then up spake Baby Jesus, from in Mary’s womb/ ‘Bend down, the tallest branches, that my mother might have some’.”

What?

The voice of Jesus’s foetus pipes up, in utero, in lisping Aramaic, asking trees branches to bend down and give his mother cherries! (They duly oblige.) Come on. I mean just come on. It’s not just ridiculous – though it certainly is that – it’s creepy. I feel confident in asserting that this is the worst Christmas carol lyric ever. And this one’s not going to be beaten.

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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Referring back to the FFS post Eric Idle’s Fuck Christmas is on YouTube and certainly expresses a sentiment. Doubt it’ll make it into many choral recitals; even The Grinch might draw the line at this one.

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