Christmas Music: Ding Dong! Merrily On High

Monday, December 11, 2017 by Mary O'Connor | holiday

Ding Dong! Merrily On High

Ding Dong! Merrily On High

"Ding Dong Merrily on High" first appeared as a secular dance tune known as "le branle de l'Official" in a dance book written by Jehan Tabourot (1519–1593). The lyrics are from English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and it was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter, And Other Seasons. Woodward had an interest in church bell ringing, which no doubt helped inspire this carol

Ding dong! merrily on high
In heav'n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv'n with Angel singing.
REFRAIN

Gloria,
Hosanna in excelsis !
Gloria,
Hosanna in excelsis !
E'en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And "Io, io, io!"
By priest and people sungen.
REFRAIN

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
REFRAIN

Note: "Swungen" and "Sungen" in the second verse are archaic English verb forms.