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December 4

No Room in the Inn

Performed by Greg Barlow on banjo in four parts, drum, egg shaker, and jingle bells

Words: Traditional English
Music: Traditional English

No Room in the Inn is an Advent carol that was probably sung to one of the traditional "Virgin unspotted" tunes. The tune I play here was chosen for the Oxford Book of Carols. Both the words and music can be found in Sandys (1833). All four parts are played on the banjos and I've added in some hand drum, egg shaker, and jingle bells.


When Caesar Augustus had raised a taxation,
He assessed all the people that dwelt in the nation;
The Jews at that time being under Rome's sway
Appeared in the city their tribute to pay:

Then Joseph and Mary, who from David did spring,
Went up to the city of David their king,
And, there being entered, cold welcome they find:
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

They sought entertainment, but none could they find.
Great numbers of strangers had filled the inn;
They knocked and called all this at the door,
But found not a friend where in kind they had store

Their kindred accounted they come were too soon;
'Too late,' said the innkeeper, 'here is no room.'
Amongst strangers and kinsfolk cold welcome they find -
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

Good Joseph was troubled, but most for his dear,
For her blessed burden whose time now drew near;
His heart with true sorrow was sorely afflicted
That his virgin spouse was so rudely neglected.

He could get no house-room who houses did frame,
But Joseph and Mary must go as they came,
For little is the favour the poor man can find -
From the rich to the poor they are mostly unkind.

Whilst the great and the wealthy do frolic in hall,
Possess all the ground-rooms and chambers and all,
Poor Joseph and Mary are thrust in a stable
In Bethlehem city, ground inhospitable,

And with their mean lodging contented they be:
For the minds of the just with their fortunes agree;
They bear all affronts with their meekness of mind,
And be not offended though the rich be unkind.

O Bethlehem, Bethlehem, welcome this stranger
That was born in a stable and laid in a manger;
For he is physician to heal all our smarts -
Come welcome, sweet Jesus, and lodge in our hearts.

Downloads: mp3 ogg

Sources and more information

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