Christmas carol lyrics we questioned as kids

^^I was waiting for someone to mentioned Olive :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

In “Do You Hear What I Hear,” one of the alleged Wise Men says,

Maybe, if you were so danged wise, you’d bring a blanket for a cold baby, instead of some stupid (and equally cold) metal!!

Even when I sang this song in third grade, I thought little Bill was a pretty weird kid to want all this stuff:

Look in the stocking of little Bill
Oh just see what a glorious fill
Here is a hammer and lots of tacks
A whistle and a ball and a whip that cracks

I wonder how that family was getting along?

What kind of an angel is a “Harold angel”?

in Handel’s Messiah the “Oh we like sheep” chorus(?). I commented “well I think they are pretty nice too.”
My sister created these lines:
Oh we like sheep,
They are soft, and fluffy, and like to go “baaa”…


It was a long time before I found out what a “round yon virgin” was.

“Elephant’s boats” were on the Island of Misfit Toys.

For an Aussie, when summer temperatures are hitting 40C, in an area where there isn’t much that could be described as hills, let alone mountains while holly and snow are unknown since the breakup of Gondwana there is much about Christmas carols that remains absolutely incongruous, but it wasn’t questioned on trust that such exotic happenings actually were true.

There’s not much holly and snow in Israel, either, at any time of the year. I can’t remember exactly how old I was the first time I went to a Christmas church service, but I was about 12 or 13, and I do remember that a couple of the songs made references to cold winter weather and winter plants that would grow in Europe or N. America, but would be out of place to sat the least, in Israel. There was one song that literally went on about “the snow on the ground.” I mean, I guess there was snow on the ground somewhere, but definitely not right outside the door to whatever barn or whatever it was supposed to be where Jesus was born.

I didn’t understand the historical context of Christmas songs, and I really puzzled over why these songs went on about things that were impossible in Israel, and made the whole story sound pretty suspicious.

Why would God want to arrest merry gentlemen?

I think I may be saying what several of you have already said but …

It was last Christmas, and I was 60 years old, before I realized (and by “realized” I mean “was told”) that “all is bright” is not the end of the sentence.

Me: I’ve never understood what is around the virgin and the child. The song never tells us."
Wife: Are you serious? It’s calm and bright around them.

Yeah, the line breaks in “Silent Night” are awkwardly placed, grammatically. I think it might be an artifact of the translation from German. Another example:

The line structure makes it look like “Son of God” is “love’s pure light”, and there are radiant beams from His face, and something about redeeming grace, but what’s the “with” doing there?

But the actual parsing is (I think) that the pure light is beaming radiant[ly] from the Son of God’s face, and it’s beaming with the dawn of grace. In other words, “Son of God” is in the vocative, not nominative, “Love’s pure light” is the subject of its own sentence, “radiant” is an adverb, not an adjective, “beams” is a singular verb, not a plural noun, and the clause following “with” all modifies the light.

These are some of the reasons Xmas songs are so easy to parody:
“Arrest those merry gentlemen
they’ve been drinking all the day…”


Heck, Jingle Bells features a horse named Bob! No wonder kids are confused.

Logically - the lyrics continue “…all is bright 'round yon Virgin…”. (" 'round" is grammatically correct - it’s short for “around”). Still - almost all lyrics sites have a period after “bright”. The LDS version has no period, but “Round” is capitalized.

Here’s a set of lyrics which seems to be properly punctuated (for all verses):

You know, I’d love to tune in next year’s Kentucky Derby and hear: #1 slot, Kiss My Grits; #2 slot, Harass; #3 slot, Chewing Gum; #4 slot, Bob. :smile:

In nursery school, we went line-by-line through Deck the Halls learning what everything meant. And on the last day before breaking for Christmas, we donned our “gay apparel” and had a little party.
It’s like the only Christmas carol that didn’t confuse me.

I’m still horrible at comprehending lyrics.

Deck Us All With Boston Charlie! :grinning:

Old German Christmas hymns are the same. I always wondered when hearing “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” what a run away horse had to do with Christmas.

The first line of a poem is always capitalized (unless you are e.e. cummings), even it if it is the last word in a sentence.

eg (John Donne):
Must business thee from hence remove?
Oh, that’s the worst disease of love,
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

Try reading lines 3 and 6 above to the end of the line, and not the punctuation. You get the wrong meaning from 3, which is that the speaker is exhorting love to behave a certain way, rather than merely describing the inevitable; from 6 you get nonsense.

The line breaks for rhyme and meter screw people up, but so do the capitals. However, check out any poem with rhyme and meter, and also most any free verse poem without, and you’ll see each first line capitalized.

I don’t know why this is the convention, but when I see a poem without it, either by an amateur who didn’t know any better, or a professional trying to be different, it looks really wrong to me, and I don’t like it. Total visceral reaction, I realize, and a writer can do whatever he or she wants. But there you are.