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A Carol for Twelfth Day / Kilmore Carol

[ Roud 22087 ; trad.]

The Voice Squad sang the Kilmore Carol on their 1987 album Many’s the Foolish Youth. Seán Corcoran noted:

In 1684 while in exile in Ghent, Luke Wadding, Bishop of Ferns (which includes Wexford) published a ‘Smale Garland’ of carols. After his death these became immensely popular in Ireland (in fact, an edition was printed for a Drogheda bookseller, James Connor, in 1728) and are sung to this day at Christmastime in the Wexford fishing village of Kilmore Quay. The Dublin singer Frank Harte was Phil [Callery]’s source for this song.

Joglaresa sang Now to Conclude Our Christmas Mirth (A Carol for Twelfth Day) on their 2009 album of Irish and English songs of Wintertide, In Hoary Winter’s Night.


The Voice Squad sing the Kilmore Carol

Now to conclude our Christmas mirth, with news of our redemption,
We will end our songs on our Saviour’s birth with one that deserves attention.
Three great wonders fell on this day, a star led Kings where the Infant lay,
Water made wine in Galilee and Christ baptised in Jordan.

Those Kings might have known what Balaam of old said of a star that would arise,
In Jacob’s land where he foretold the coming of the Messiah.
Jasper, Melchior and Balthazar set out when they saw the new bright star,
Leaving their eastern kingdoms far, to find out the new-born Jesus.

Amazed to see the cottage poor, the stall where He was born in,
They left their retinue at the door, though great, they entered without scorn.
The Blessed Babe and mother found, leaving their crowns and sceptres down.
Adored Him prostrate on the ground and might have spoke as follows:

Oh King of Kings here in disguise whom stars obey and angels serve.
Though wealth and grandeur You despise, You have given us more than we deserve.
Our beds are gold and ivory, our garments rich with broidery.
Beset with pearls and pagentry, whilst You lie in a stable.

What else might have passed, you may conceive in this fond conversation.
They bade farewell, taking their leave, home to their habitation.
Farewell good Christians, fare you well too, many a happy Christmas we wish you,
With a blessed end for to ensue, through the merits of Sweet Jesus.