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Down with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the mistletoe;
Instead of holly now upraise
The greener box for show.
The holly hitherto did sway:
Let box now domineer
Until the dancing Easter Day,
Or Easter's Eve appear.

Then youthful box, which now has grace
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crisp-ed yew.
When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
To honour Whitsuntide.

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift, thus times do shift;
Each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed, new things succeed,
As former things grow old.

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Source: Oxford Book of Carols, OUP, Ed. Percy Dearmer, R Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw

This tune is from an old church-gallery book, discovered by the Rev. L. J. T. Darwall.


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