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December 18

The tune to this German carol, "Joseph Lieber, Joseph Mein" (known in English as "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine"), is taken from another carol, "Resonet in laudibus." One of the earliest appearances is in a mystery play in Leipzig. Mary sings the first verse, Joseph the second, and then others sing the remaining six verses. I played this on one banjo, accompanied myself on another, and added some percussion with wooden spoons/bones.

Downloads: mp3

Joseph Lieber, Joseph Mein

Performed by Greg Barlow on two banjos and wooden spoons

Words: Traditional German
Music: Resonet in Laudibus, 14th Century German carol


Joseph dearest, Joseph mine,
Help me cradle the child divine.
God reward thee and all that's thine,
In paradise, so prays the mother Mary.

He came among us at Christmastide,
At Christmastide in Bethlehem;
Men shall bring him from far and wide
Love's diadem: Jesus, Jesus,
Lo, he comes and loves and saves and frees us!

Gladly dear one, Lady mine
Help I cradle this child of thine.
God's own light on us both shall shine,
In paradise, as prays the mother Mary.

Servant 1:
Peace to all that have goodwill!
God, who heaven and earth doth fill,
Comes to turn us away from ill,
As all may see In Jesus, Son of Mary.

Servant 2:
All shall come and bow the knee,
Wise and happy their souls shall be.
Loving such a divinity as all may see
In Jesus Son of Mary.

Servant 3:
Now is born Emmanual,
Prophesied once by Ezekiel,
Promised Mary by Gabriel, Ah, who can tell
Thy praises, Son of Mary.

Servant 4:
Thou my lazy heart hast stirred,
Thou, The Father's eternal Word,
Greater than aught that ear hath heard,
Thou tiny bird of love, Thou Son of Mary.

Servant 1:
Sweet and lovely little one,
Thou princely, beautiful, God's own Son,
Without Thee all of us were undone;
Our love is won by Thine, O Son of Mary.

Servant 2:
Little man, and God indeed,
Little and poor, Thou art all we need;
We will follow where Thou dost lead,
And we will heed our brother, born of Mary.

Sources and more information