I Saw Three Ships

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Traditional carol, from 1666

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.

2. 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.

3. Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady,
On Christmas day in the morning.

4. Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?
On Christmas day in the morning.

5. O, they sailed to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
O, they sailed to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Then let us all rejoice and amain,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Then let us all rejoice amain,
On Christmas day in the morning.

9. 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.


Text (except verse 9; later addition) from Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, ed. William Sandys 1833. The first known publication date of this song is from John Forbes' Cantus, 2nd edition, 1666.

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