Aural Advent Calendar: Day 13

We’re back to Jolly Old today, more specifically, St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The choir has been singing for 660 years although it is thought that its members have changed substantially during that time.

I Saw Three Ships belongs to that rather deliciously bizarre category of Christmas songs that seemed to have appeared from the ether for no particular reason. The author of the text or music is unknown as the general time of its appearance in the Christmas canon. It is quite likely that the music enjoyed a former life as a bawdy song of some sort and while the tune is catchy, the reason the uninspired text has survived this long is rather baffling.

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning

To sum up:
Three ships arrived in the harbour on Christmas morning with Jesus and Mary on board but that was just a pit stop on their way to Bethlehem. Despite the fact that Bethlehem is 80km from the sea or 14 hours walk up into the mountains the Holy Family manages to make the journey there before lunch. Everybody, even the angels, is happy to have discovered this wormhole in the space/time continuum and whoops it up.

Hey, if a fat guy in a red velvet suit can fit down Miss Mussel’s chimney, anything is possible.

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