The Holly And The Ivy Christmas Song

The Holly And The Ivy

Year: 1710

Written By: Unknown

'The Holly And The Ivy' is one of the most well-known and well regarded English traditional Christmas carols, which actually is thought to have its origins as a 16th century French carol. It had appeal to both the pagan and christian populations. Holly and ivy were pagan fertility symbols and were associated with winter solstice, while in Christianity they have been an important part of Christmas decorations since as far back as the 15th century. The music and the majority of the lyrics that make up the carol that we know today are generally credited to Cecil Sharp's and his 'English-Folk Carols' book of 1911.

Somewhat unsurprisingly for a carol of its ilk the majority of recorded releases for 'The Holly and The Ivy' have been by well known choirs such as the the King's College Choir of Cambridge and the Vienna Boys Choir. There have also been versions by contemporary artists (some of which you can hear in the videos below), the most successful of which have been by Roger Whittaker and a masterful take by Bing Crosby where he incorporated 'The Holly and The Ivy' into a heavenly medley with 'What Child Is This?'.

 

The Holly And The Ivy Lyrics

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
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

 

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