The Holly and the Ivy

Both the text and tune we know today were first published in Cecil Sharp's English Folk-Carols in 1911. Sharp recorded the words and the melody from a Mrs. Mary Clayton, in Gloucestershire.

The holly bears a berry 

As red any blood,

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

To do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a bark,

As bitter as any gall,

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

For to redeem us all.

The holly and the ivy,

When they are both full grown,

Of all the trees that are in the wood,

The holly bears the crown.

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© Mary Vanhoozer 2020