“The Golden Carol (The Three Kings)”


"Now is Christemas y-come, Father and Son together in one, Holy Ghost us be on...." The song announces Christmas, then tells the story of the "three kings" who came, visited Herod, saw Jesus, offered their gifts, and went home another way

Supplemental text

Golden Carol, The (The Three Kings)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Three Kings

From Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Oxford Book of Ballads, #107,
pp. 448-450. Source not listed; probably ultimately from
the Bodleian ms.

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

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.

(12 additional stanzas)


This is essentially the story told in Matt. 2:1-12. It should be noted, however, that

1. There is no reason to believe that there were three visitors. All we know is that they gave three gifts.

2. The visitors were not kings and were not wise men. They were "magi" -- Babylonian mystics and perhaps astrologers. Jews would generally consider magi to be evil sorcerers (the Greek word "magos," apart from the uses in Matt. 2:1, 7, 16, is used only in Acts 13:6, 8 of Simon Magus, a magician who claimed to be "the great power of God"). - RBW

Cross references


  1. OBB 107, "The Three Kings" (1 text)
  2. OBC 173, "The Golden Carol" (1 text plus a tune by Vaughan Williams)
  3. ST OBB107 (Partial)
  4. BI, OBB107


Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1475 (Bodleian ms. Eng. Poet. e. 1)
Found in: Britain(England)