An earthly tree a heavenly fruit - Cast off all doubtful care (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2003-08-09)  CPDL #05415:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-08-09).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 256 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised Sept 2021 (editorial, formatting).

General Information

Title: An earthly tree an heavenly fruit
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB and AA soli
Genre: SacredSacred song

Language: English
Instruments: SA duet with viol consort, and a cappella chorus

First published: 1589 in Songs of sundrie natures, no. 25 & 40
Description: A carol for Christmas day in two parts.

Prima pars: An earthly tree an heavenly fruit (AA duet with viol consort)
Seconda pars: Cast off all doubtful care (Chorus)

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. An earthly tree a heavenly fruit it bear,
A case of clay contained a crown immortal
A crown of crowns, a King whose cost and care
Redeemed poor man, whose race before was thrall
To death, to doom, to pains of everlasting,
By His sweet death, scorns, stripes, and often fasting.

Cast of all doubtful care, exile and banish tears,
To joyful news divine, lend us your list’ning ears.

2. A star above the stars, a sun of light,
Whose blessed beams this wretched earth bespread
With hope of heaven and of God's Son the sight,
Which in our flesh and sinful soul lay dead.
O faith, O hope, O joys renowned for ever,
O lively life that deathless shall persever.

3. Then let us sing the lullabys of sleep
To this sweet babe, born to awake us all
From drowsy sin that made old Adam weep,
And by his fault gave to mankind the fall.
For lo! this day, the birth day, day of days,
Summons our songs to give Him laud and praise.