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Country 10. Handfasting Hambo The Bride's Bright Ribbons I The Groom's Splendid Vest I Promise and Reward

Court 5. The Honeymoon Hambo A Month of Meade I A Mug of Mirth I A Mellifluous Marriage

4 Couple longways dances - all essentially walked

Village 6. Cross Gartered Laces and Bows I Dressing Up I Stripping Down I Tops and Bottoms (Slip-jigs)

Country 11. The Maze Tripping in the Sunshine I The Barbican Trap I Giromancy Jig I No Way in,No Way out (Gigs)

Town 3. Tapestry Crewel Devotion I Woven Regard I Threaded Fidelity I Needlepoint Constancy (Gigs)

Court 3. Snowball Slalom Waves of Joy I Cascade of Woes (Gigs-Reels)

8 Couple dances - whether walked or galoped

Village 13. Baltic Crossing The Frozen SeaI / Icebreaker Exchange I The Broken Blockade I Free Passage (Galops)

Country2. The Giant's Backbone The Gentle Friend I Loping Along I The Wrong Turn / Hang On (Gigs)

Town 12. The Great Roundabout Celestial Cogs I Widdershin Wheelings I Connecting Courtesies Intersecting Heys (Marches)

Court 15. The Dashing Dragoon The Handsome Hussar I The Captain's Daughter The Horseback Fling The Jealous Spouse (Polkas)


The Cherry Tree Carol


Form couples holding inside hs facing along the l.o.d.. Start l.f.. Prepare for slow 'left, pause, right' travelling polska step throughout. Finish sequence either with same partner or having taking inside hs with new partner, M having progressed along l.o.d. W against. Dance the 12-bar polska sequence as many times as will.


Joseph was an old man,


M travels forward passing W behind him, her l.h. into his l.h.

An old man was he,


M turns W over her l.sh. in front of him back to his r.h. side.

He wedded Virgin Mary,


M puts his r.arm over W's l.arm and they promenade forward.

The Queen of Galilee


M letting go with his l.h. but holding W's l.h. from on top with his r.h. bends down, turns acw under her l.arm, stands, raises his r.h. and turns her out over her r.sh. once or twice while M continues forward to face back against l.o.d..

He wedded Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee


2h open turn cw just short of 13/4; around finishing opening out, M on inside, W on outside, holding inside hs facing along l.o.d.


It has long been appreciated that the Christmas story invites questions. How do we know it was an immaculate conception? Could not Joseph or another man have been the father? If the latter, would not Joseph have been angry? Many stories try to answer these questions. The Protoevanglium of James describes how Joseph had doubts about his paternity, he being so old and she so young. The picking of fruit (an image as old as that the story of Adam and Eve, and found also in the finally story of the Finnish Kalevala where a beautiful virgin eats a berry off a tree and gives birth to air, whereupon the old gods flee) also came into stories exploring the relationship between Mary and Joseph. Thus, the apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew recounts how during their flight into Egypt, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus stop to rest under a palm tree, Mary asks Joseph to pick her some fruit, he doesn't want to, Jesus speaks, the tree bows down, Mary gathers fruit, and Joseph asks forgiveness. Similarly, the mystery play performed in Coventry since the 15th century have a scene where, on the road to Bethlehem, Joseph begs Mary's forgiveness after a cherry tree, from which he'd refused to pick her fruit, bends down at to her pray. This carol is in this same tradition. It has enjoyed many texts and tunes on both sides of the Atlantic. Cecil Sharp collected no fewer than 8 texts and the Oxford Book of Carols, links together three texts, each with its own tune. The tune offered here, though possibly Appalacian, has the feel of a Scandinavian polska, and thus the recommended dance step. The travelling, promenading, bending over, interlacing of arms, facing-off, are all intended to echo the story of the relationship explored in the carol. Note that the W turns over her l.sh. in the A part then in B turns over her r.sh.. Just make sure all turns are wide and smooth and you don't cramp your partner at any stage.

N.B. To make progressive, in B2 turn partner just 3/4; cw, then pull on (M along l.o.d. W against) to give 2hs to and tun next along once cw.


Quem Pastores Laudevere


Form a double circle of as many couples as will in high promenade hold (M on inside, W on outside) facing along l.o.d.. Start l.f.. Prepare for gentle walking and chassées. Finish sequence with all having progressed on to new partner, M along l.o.d., W against. Dance the 8-bar 6/4 sequence as many times as will.


Quem pastores


Walk forward with 2 slow step (l.f. then r.f.)



Chassée forward starting with left foot (with l, r, l, pause) while about facing (M remaining on inside).

Quibus angeli


Travel backwards along the l.o.d. with 2 slow steps (step onto r.f. pointing l.toe, then onto l.f. pointing r.toe).



Turn about over l.sh. to again face along l.o.d. with a slowbackwards chasssée starting on r.f..

'Absit vobis jam timere,


Take 2 slow steps forward, then while M chassées in place, W chassées left all the way across in front of M to change side.

Natus est rex gloriae'


W chassées back to right while M steps in place then with 2 slow walking steps M (releasing first his l.h. then his r.h.) lets W cast over their r.sh. to be collected in high promenade hold by a new oncoming M.


Some of the many English versions of this carol include J.M. Neale's hymn, 'Jesus, kind above all others' (itself a translation of a Latin hymn 'Jesus noster, Jesus bonus'), George Bradford Carid (1917-84) 'Shepherds came, their praises bringing...', C.S.Phillips' 'Thou whom shepherds worshipped...', James Quinn's 'Angel voices, richly blending...', J.O'Connor's 'Shepherds tell your beauteus story...' and Imogen Holst's 'Shepherd left their flocks astraying...'. The tune, together with Latin words to 3 of the 4 verses sung today and given here, were first found in a manuscript dated 1410 in the Hohenfurth Abbey in Germany. It was reproduced in several mid-16th century German song books (including Valentin Triller's Ein schlesich Singbüchlein aus göttlicher Schrift , Breslau, 1555). The lyric is effectively one long sentence with the main verb in the second last line. Ian Bradley's translation in The Penguin Book of Carols , 1999 of verses 1, 2 and 4 is:


1. To him whom the shepherd praised, being told by the angels: 'Now let fear be banished from you: the King of Glory is born'
2. To him to whom the wise men journeyed, carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh and offered these things sincerely to the victorious Lion
3. To Christ the King, born of God, given to us through Mary, let resound right worthily 'Praise, honour and glory'.

Verse 3 was later slipped in and breaks the sentence with an appeal to, 'Rejoice with Mary and the heavenly hierarchy (of angels) as they praise the infant in reverent tones and with sweet melody'.

I have written a stately dance to go with the carol, dovetailing not so much with the carol's lyric as with its curiously phrased melody - there being some phrases which lend themselves to slow single steps and others to chass1stes (and in this respect the pattern in the second half is slightly different to that of the first half).

Subpages (1): Cross Gartered