Author Topic: Add: Nine Joys of Mary


Posted - 02 Feb 03 - 05:16 pm

Nine Joys of Mary , [Joys of Mary]

The first good joy that Mary had, It was the joy of one,
To see her own son Jesus Christ to suck at the breastbone,
To suck at the breastbone, O Lord, and bless-ed may we be.
This brings tidings, sweet comfort and joy, and great joy,
This brings tidings, sweet comfort and joy.

The next ... two ... to read the Bible through.

The next ... three ... to make the blind to see.

The next ... four ... to say the Bible o'er.

The next ... five ... to raise the dead alive.

The next ... six ... to bear the crucifix.

The next ... seven ... to eat the bread of Heaven.

The next ... eight ... to make the crooked straight.

The next ... nine ... to turn water into wine.

Source: Palmer, Roy, Bushes and Briars, LLanerch, 1999


This was collected from Mr Wiltshire from the workhouse , Royston, Hertforshire in 1907 by Vaughan Williams.

The number of joys varies. In the fourteenth century there were five, which became seven in the fifteenth. These were the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Presentation in the Temple, Christ found by his mother, the assumption and the coronation of the Virgin. (In Catholic tradition, one of the decades of the Rosary is called 'The Joyful Mysteries' and these are the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation in the Temple and Christ found by his mother in the temple).

During the eighteenth and nineteenth century the number extended as high as twelve.

Database entry is here.

Edited By dmcg - 02/02/2003 17:23:36


Posted - 08 Nov 03 - 05:54 pm

I did some research in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library yesterday and found a version in the 5th Series of Cecil Sharp's "Folk Songs of Somerset" (1909)

Words and air from Eliza Jane Duddridge of Mark. This is (almost) the same as the above, but adds the tenth verse

"Bring up ten gentlemen"

which Cecil Sharp thought "may possibly refer to the cleansing of the lepers." He also said "I have not found this carol elsewhere in Somerset, although I have noted it in Gloucestershire."

That same article mentions the two additional verses for 11 and 12, but I didn't make a note on them. Sorry!

Edited By dmcg - 08-Nov-2003 05:55:15 PM

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 08 Nov 03 - 08:38 pm

Sharp found, variously, "To carry (have) the keys of heaven" and "To ring the heavenly bells" or "To have the keys of hell".

Ten was also "To write with a golden pen".

masato sakurai

Posted - 14 Dec 03 - 01:22 am

There're two related versions at the Max Hunter collection.

The Nine Blessings of Mary (As sung by Mrs. Olive Coberly, Weaubleau, Missouri on October 7, 1958).

Mary's Seven Blessings (As sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on June 25, 1969).


Posted - 23 Jan 04 - 11:42 am

There is a French version in Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1951:

T:The Joys of Mary (Frenc)
B:Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1951
S:Pseaumes et Cantiques, 1895
N:Communicated by Rev E. A. White
M:6/8 %Meter
L:1/8 %
E |A2 A A2 B |c2 c c2 A |B2 B G2 G |
w:De Ca-na-an quand verr-ons nous Le c-les-te ri-va-ge?
E |A2 A A2 B |c2 c c2 A |B2 B G2 G | A3 z2
w:Vers le Jour-dain en-ten-dez vous? Christ nous ap-pel-le tous,
B |B2 B B2 B |B2 c (dc) B |c2 B c2 B | (c2 d) e2
w:Prs de lui, doux par-ta-*ge!_ l'ab-ri de l'o-ra-*ge,
d |c2 B A2 d |c2 B A2 A |B2 B G2 G | A3 z2 z |
w:Nous pour-rons chan-tes ja-mais le can-ti-que de paix:
A3 (AG) A |c2 c A2 z |B2 B G2 z |
w:Oh! quel_ par-fait bon-heur! Quel bon-heur!
A2 A E2 z |A3 (AG) A |c2 c A2 A |B2 B G2 G | A3 z2
w:Quel bon-heur! Oh! quel_ par-fait bon-heur A-prs tant de la-beur!
B |B2 B B2 B |(B2 c) (dc) B |c2 B c2 B | (c2 d) e2
w:Pour tou-jours r-u-ni-e,*_ L'-glise, en sa pa-tri-*e,
d |c2 B A2 d |c2 B A2 A |B2 B G2 G | A3 z3 |]
w:En-ton-ne-ra: Al-le-lu-ia, gloire toi Je-ho-vah


Since I first posted that there have been a number of updates to Folkinfo and it looks like several exciting things have happened to the accents. If I can work up the strengh I will sort it out sometime ...

Edited By dmcg - 19 Nov 07 - 10:42 pm
Edited By dmcg - 30 Dec 07 - 08:45 am


Posted - 19 Nov 07 - 10:34 pm

The First Good Joy that Mary had, it was the Joy of One
To know her own son Jesus was God's only Son
Was God's ONLY Son, good man and bles-sed may be he,
Father, Son, and HOLY Ghost To all eternity.

Margaret Ashby, A Hertfordshire Christmas, Sutton Publishing

Having recently moved to Hertfordshire, I got out several books on local history, etc, including this one. I quote:

In Herfordshire -as in other places - there was a sharing of good and well-loved tunes among songs. About 1840 the Hoddesdon Waits used the following variant of "The Old Christmas Song" as their setting for a 12-verse version of "The Joys of Mary." It was collected by the eminent folklorist Helen Creighton in Nova Scotia from Norma Smith of Halifax, who wrote of it:

My grandfather [Saunders] used to sing this every Christmas Day until he passed on. He came o Canada from Hoddesdon, Herts. He would only sing this on Christmas Day, no matter how we would coax to have it at other times. When he was a tiny boy the Waits used to sing it in the village, and when he was old enough he would steal away from home and sing it with them. He was born in 1833. Because of the demi-semiquavers at the end he said only an Englishman could sing it.


This tune, as sung by the Hoddesdon Waits about 1840, may have been the dominant version used - if not originated - in Hertfordshire. Most widely known today, however, is the so-called 'London' version (Oxford Book of Carols, 1928, no 12) as printed by Dr E. F. Rimbault in A Little Book of Christmas Carols in 1846.


Posted - 18 Dec 07 - 09:17 pm

Thanks for the 'Nine Joys of Mary' words and information, I heard a version recently and immediately wanted to learn it! I've written about it on my folk-blog and credited this site: <>.


Posted - 31 Dec 07 - 02:51 pm

Ralph Dunstan, A First Book of Christmas Carols

Ralph Dunstan wrote:

The mythical Dilly Bird is supposed to come only at Christmas and was 'never seen but heard-o'. Variants of the Dilly Carol are sung in most of the countries of Europe. The following is exactly as I have many times heard it - generally sung by three singers at or about the time of Twelfth Night - in West Cornwall ... As in most of the Mediaeval Miracle Plays and Mysteries, and many of the old Carols, Christian Doctrines are mingled with fragments of Heathen Mythology etc.

The origin of 'dilly' is uncertain, but is presumably Cornish and related to the Welsh dilys which nowadays means "genuine, authentic."

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