A lot of people sing the first verse and chorus of popular Christmas carols and then move on. But if you stick around to later verses you can find some interesting attempts by the lyricist to fit in large concepts and unique rhyme schemes. Here are some of my favorites.
Carol: “Cherry Tree Carol”
Lyric: And Mary gathered cherries / While Joseph stood around.
The whole song is rather bizarre, but I like to think of this part as if it were a stage direction.
“What was Joseph doing while all this was happening?”
“I don’t know, he just stood around.”
Carol: “Deck The Hall”
Lyric: Troll the ancient Yule tide carol
The redefining of “troll” in Internet culture makes this sound like a rather rude thing to do, but even before that it brought to mind of creatures under bridges eating billy goats, not sing festive tunes.
Carol: “Do You Hear What I hear?”
Lyric: A Child, a Child shivers in the cold–
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold.
Or maybe a blanket or something that actually insulates rather than metals that would be rather chilly on a cold night.
Carol: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Lyric: This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.
The words “doth deface” sound so Metal.
Carol: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Lyric: Hail, the incarnate deity
I can’t hear the words “Hail, the incarnate deity” without hearing them in the voices of the aliens from Toy Story.
Carol: “In the Bleak Midwinter”
Lyric: Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air
A choir director really wanted us to emphasize the word “thronged” while singing and now I can never get past what a strange word that is or the imagery of a throng of cherubim and seraphim hanging out in the air.
Carol: “Little Drummer Boy”
Lyric: The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
Once again my mind fills in the details and I get an image of the ox and lamb wearing berets in a smokey jazz club and saying “dig!”
Carol: “Silent Night”
Lyric: Shepherds quake, at the sight.
THERE ARE REPORTS OF JUDEA BEING HIT BY A SHEPHERD QUAKE, ESTIMATED AT 5.7 ON THE RICHTER SCALE.