The Cherry Tree Carol

The Cherry Tree Carol is  one of
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads 
collected by Francis James Child  in the late 19th century

I accidentally stumbled upon it yesterday.
It is surprising how modern  the subject is
(given that this ballad has been our there for several centuries now).
This is my interpretation of the ballad:

and here is the ballad itself:

1	JOSEPH was an old man,
	and an old man was he,
	When he wedded Mary,
	in the land of Galilee.
2	Joseph and Mary walked
	through an orchard good,
	Where was cherries and berries,
	so red as any blood.
3	Joseph and Mary walked
	through an orchard green,
	Where was berries and cherries,
	as thick as might be seen.
4	O then bespoke Mary,
	so meek and so mild:
	‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
	for I am with child.’
5	O then bespoke Joseph,
	with words most unkind:
	‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
	that brought thee with child.’
6	O then bespoke the babe,
	within his mother’s womb:
	‘Bow down then the tallest tree,
	for my mother to have some.’
7	Then bowed down the highest tree
	unto his mother’s hand;
	Then she cried, See, Joseph,
	I have cherries at command.
8	O then bespake Joseph:
	‘I have done Mary wrong;
	But cheer up, my dearest,
	and be not cast down.’
9	Then Mary plucked a cherry,
	as red as the blood,
	Then Mary went home
	with her heavy load.
10	Then Mary took her babe,
	and sat him on her knee,
	Saying, My dear son, tell me
	what this world will be.
11	‘O I shall be as dead, mother,
	as the stones in the wall;
	O the stones in the streets, mother,
	shall mourn for me all.
12	‘Upon Easter-day, mother,
	my uprising shall be;
	O the sun and the moon, mother,
	shall both rise with me.’
Categories: Decorative ArtTags: ,


  1. Мне нехватает исторических знаний и знания английского ,чтобы оценить это произведение . Но в самом рисунке поражает тщательная проработка деталей .Удивительно, как малыми средствами удается изображать чувства на лицах героев. Молодец!

  2. За иллюстрацию баллады,
    Которую сам Б-г создал
    Коль были б у меня награды,
    Ты б получила высший балл.

  3. This is so cool… The detail and patterning, on the bark especially, is amazing! You’ve done the ballad proud with your beautiful illustration 🙂

  4. Я посмотрел еще раз и подумал , что голова как-то непропорционально мала .Она должна быть центром картины , а внимание привлекает не в первую очередь.

  5. amazingly beautiful work on the tree. sorry it was inspired by christian folklore.

    • I didn’t look for it, I stumbled upon it. I found the way the Joseph talks to his wife amusing. When I said “how relevant” I meant how many people believe in that. I like it as a piece of poetry, not more and not less.

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