This poem, also known as the Herefordshire Christmas Carol, is marked “traditional” though I don’t think it is sung all that often. Some versions omit verses three and four which results in the (unintended, we hope) implication that Woman is the course of Man’s woes. It links events from the beginning of the Old Testament in Genesis with the story of Jesus in the New Testament.

Herefordshire Christmas Carol

This is the truth sent from above,
the truth of God, the God of love,
Therefore don’t turn me from your door
But hearken all both rich and poor.

The first thing which I do relate,
Is that God did man create;
The next thing which to you I’ll tell
Woman was made with mad to dwell.

Then, after this, ’twas God’s own choice
To place them both in Paradise,
There to remain, from evil free,
Except they ate of such a tree.

But they did eat, which was a sin,
And thus their ruin did begin.
Ruined themselves, both you and me,
And all of their posterity.

Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose;
And so a promise soon did run
That he would redeem us by his Son.

And at that season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear;
He here did live, and here did preach,
And many thousands he did teach.

Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say.

traditional English

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