Today’s song is “Past 3:00,” a carol composed by George Ratliffe Woodward. The lyricsare hard to catch as you listen, possibly because we so rarely use words like “Ne’ertofore.”

Past Three O’clock a.k.a. Past 3 a Clock

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Born is a baby, gentle as may be,
Son of the eternal, Father supernal.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Seraph quire singeth, angel bell ringeth,
Hark how they rhyme it, time it and chime it.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Mid earth rejoices hearing such voices
Ne’ertofore so well caroling Nowell.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Hinds o’er the pearly dewy lawn early,
Seek the high Stranger laid in a manger.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Cheese from thy dairy, bring it for Mary,
And not for money, butter and honey.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Light out the star-land leadeth from far land,
Princes to meet him, worship and greet him.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Myrrh from full coffer, incense they offer,
Nor is the golden nugget withholden.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning,
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

Thus they I pray you, up sirs nor stay you,
‘Till ye confess him, likewise and bless him.

Past three o’clock and a cold frosty morning.
Past three o’clock, good morrow masters all!

 

Woodward was an early 20th century guy who, like so many people of the time, was charmed by the Middle Ages. He took the chorus roughly from a traditional night watchman’s call and made the rest up, making it as medieval sounding as he could.

Linda Ronstadt has recorded this, as have The Chieftans. David Solomon has a parody. These are all fun to listen to, but this song is also fun to sing. Drums and dancing are completely appropriate.

I’m going this evening to a performance and lecture on Gregorian chant. Between now and then I have a whole bunch of work, all of it fun. Last night my 2012 planner arrived and I attempted to come up with goals for next year. There are so many from this year that I didn’t accomplish that I gave up fairly quickly, thinking it would be depressing to copy the list right into the new planner. Maybe I can get some of them done before New Year’s still.

However, I was moved to clean the kitchen and the bathrooms, so that was something.