The Cherry Tree Carol

by Cooper and Toller

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Child Ballad #54. A mash-up of carols, the bones of which date back to the 15th century. Our tune is from Mary Anne Clayton of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, 1909, via the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. We assembled the words from various sources.


1. Joseph was an old man
And an old man was he
And Joseph married Mary
The Queen of Galilee.

2. Mary and Joseph
Were walking in the grove
They saw cherries and berries
As red as any rose.

3. Then up speaks Mary
So meek and so mild
'O gather me cherries, Joseph
For I am with child.'

4. Then up speaks Joseph
With his words so unkind
'Let him gather you cherries
That got you with child.'

5. Then up speaks the little child
In his own mother's womb
'Bow down low you cherry tree
And give my mother some.'

6. The top part of the cherry tree
Bowed down to her knee
'And now you see, Joseph
There are cherries for me.'

7. Joseph he kneeled down
And a question asked he
'Come tell me, little baby
When your birthday shall be.'

8. 'The fifth day of January
My birthday shall be
When the skies and the elements
Will tremble for me.'


released November 24, 2019


all rights reserved



Cooper and Toller Bristol, UK

Cooper and Toller is an English folk music collaboration between Bristol-based Richard Toller and Gloucestershire-based Vicky Cooper. Cooper and Toller sing solo and in close harmony. Vicky plays fiddles and does occasional clog-dancing, Richard plays guitar, mandolin and banjo. ... more

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