An Anonymous Ballad on the Resurrection of Christ, ca. 1660

While surfing Early English Books Online (our library recently purchased perpetual access), I found this anonymous ballad on the resurrection of Christ penned somewhere between 1658 and 1664. I’ve retained the original punctuation and spelling, though I have converted the typeset to modern lettering. Have a blessed Easter Day!

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A most Godly and Comfortable Ballad of the Glorious
Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, how he Triumphed over Death, and Hell and Sin,
whereby we are certainly perswaded of our Rising again from the Dead.
The tune is, Rogero.

What faithful froward sinful man,
so far from grace is fled;
That doth no in his heart believe
the rising of the Dead?
Or why do wicked mortal men,
their Lives so painly frame,
Which being dead they do suppose
they shall not rise again.

For why if that the dead indeed,
which now consuming lies,
Shall not by God be rais’d again,
then Christ did never rise:
And if so be our Saviour sweet,
did not rise from the death,
Our Preaching is of no effect,
and vain our hope on earth.

If Christ rose not again I say,
then are we yet in Sin,
And they that fall asleep in him,
no part of joy shall win:
Of all the Creatures Living then,
which God on earth did frame,
Most wretched are the states of men,
which spend there days in vain.

But Christ is risen up from death,
as it was right and meet,
And thereby trod down death and hell
and sin under his feet:
And that the same to simple men,
the plainer might appear,
The glorious rising of the Lord,
his word declareth clear.

When he within the Grave was laid,
the Jews did watch-men set,
Lest by his friends his Corps from thence
should secretly be fet:
A mighty stone likewise they did,
on his Sepulchre role;
And all for fear his body should
away from thence be stole.

But in the dead time of the night,
a mighty Earth-quake came,
The which did shake both Sea and Land
and all within the same:
And then the angel of the Lord
came down from heaven so high,
And rol’d away the mighty stone,
which on the ground did lye.

His face did shine like flaming fire,
his cloaths were white as Snow,
Which put the watch-men in great fear,
who ran away for woe;
And told unto the high priest plain,
what I do now rehearse,
Who hired them for money straight
that they would hold their peace.

And say quoth he his servants came,
whom he sometimes did keep,
And secreetly stole him away,
while ye were fast asleep;
And that Herod hear thereof,
we wil perswade him so,
That you shall find no hurt at all
wherever you do go.

But faithful Mary Magdalen,
and James here Brother too,
They brought great store of oyntment
as Jesus were wont to do;
Who rose up early in the morn
before that it was day,
The body of the Lord ‘t anoint,
in Grave whereas he lay.

And when unto the Grave they came;
they were in wondrous fear,
They saw a young-man in the same
but Christ they saw not there:
then said the Angel unto them
why are you so afraid?
The Lord whom you do seek I know
is risen up he said.

Then went these women both away
who told these tydings than,
To John & Peter who in hast
to the Sepulchre ran:
Who found it as the woman said,
and then away did go,
But Mary stayed weeping still,
whose tears declard her woe.

Who looking down into the grave
two angels there did see,
Quoth they why weeps this woman so,
even for my Lord quoth she:
And turning then her self aside
as she stood weeping so,
the Lord was standing at her back,
but him she did not know.

Why doth this woman weep he said,
whom seek’st thou in this place?
She thought it had the gardiner been,
and thus she inews her case
If thou hast born him hence she said
then tell me where he is
And for to fetcht him back again,
besure I will not miss.

What Mary then our Saviour said.
dost thou lament for me
O Master livest thou again
my soul doth joy in thee:
O Mary touch me not he said,
e’re I have been above,
Even with my God, the only God,
and Father whom we love.

And oftentimes did Christ appear,
to his disciples all;
But Thomas would not it believe
his faith it was so small
Except that he might thrust his hand
into the wound so deep
And put his finger where the sphear
did pierce his tender side.

Then Christ which know all secrets
to them again came he
Who siad to Thomas here I am
as plainly thou may’st se
See here the hands which nails did pierce
and holes are in my side
And be not faithless thou man
for whom these pains I bide.

Thus sundry times Christ shew’d himself
when he did rise again
And then desended into heaven
in glory for to reign
Where he prepares a place for those
whom he shall raise Likewise:
To live with him in heavenly bliss,
above the lofty Skies.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. 14 versesis most Godly perhaps, but decidely not most Comfortable

  2. Paul Roberts says:

    Perhaps it would indeed be uncomfortable if sung standing. 🙂

    But in a broader sense I disagree that it is not “comfort”able generally. It may perhaps be a bit long for congregational singing, but not too long to be sufficient for the provision of comfort. FYI: I did sing the entire song last night, though to a different tune, a discipline consistent with the slow contemplation encouraged by these latter days of holy week.

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