“Past Three O’clock” – A Christmas Carol

David W. Solomons, a musician from England, wrote to me the other day about the Christmas Carol called Past Three O’clock. He had done a musical spoof on it called Past 2 O’clock.

I had never heard of the original carol before. From what David said, it’s only recently become popular in the US. He wrote, “I understand that the original is becoming more widely known in the USA just in the last few years, but it’s been a ‘favourite’ for choirs in the UK since the 70s I think.”

According to the site The Hymns and Carols of Christmas, the refrain and tune go back to the time of the Renaissance.

Below are the lyrics to the carol as it’s sung today. You can hear it on the North Country Public Radio Online Holiday Music Page by scrolling down on the page or click here to download it directly from their site (it’s the first song on a recording of a Holiday Concert).

Past Three O’clock a.k.a. Past 3 a Clock

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Born is a baby, gentle as may be,
Son of the eternal, Father supernal.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Seraph quire singeth, angel bell ringeth,
Hark how they rhyme it, time it and chime it.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Mid earth rejoices hearing such voices
Ne’ertofore so well caroling Nowell.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Hinds o’er the pearly dewy lawn early,
Seek the high Stranger laid in a manger.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Cheese from thy dairy, bring it for Mary,
And not for money, butter and honey.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Light out the star-land leadeth from far land,
Princes to meet him, worship and greet him.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Myrrh from full coffer, incense they offer,
Nor is the golden nugget withholden.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Thus they I pray you, up sirs nor stay you,
‘Till ye confess him, likewise and bless him.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning.
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Here you can find the sheet music for this song

Linda Ronstadt also sang this song on her CD called A Merry Little Christmas. You can hear a clip of it here.

Once you’ve listened to the original, check out David’s version of the song. It’s fun!

Enjoy!

Lisa

Then come visit the Mama Lisa’s World Blog Christmas Song Pages!

This article was posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2006 at 2:21 pm and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, Past Three O'clock, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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