This carol was first published in 1833 in a collection entitled “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern”. William Sandys, a solicitor by day and music & manuscript collector by night, purportedly came across the tune in Devonshire, England.
In this gentle setting from 1991 many colors of choral writing appear with sections for SATB, 3-part men, 3-part women, and solos by section. There is a gentle back-and-forth between measures set in 3/2 vs. 4/4.
According to the 1868 publication “Songs of the Nativity” by William H. Husk: “…The line in the second stanza, ‘As the lot fell unto me,’ alludes to the manner in which Joseph was miraculously pointed out as the husband of the Virgin by a flower budding forth from his rod and the Holy Ghost, in the form of a dove, descending thereon, as related in the Apocryphal Gospel of the Birth of Mary.”
An accompaniment arranged for piano (2-hand or 4-hand) is available directly from the composer at [email protected]