John Speller's Web Pages Oh, down, oh, down in rosemerry Scotland

John Speller's Web Pages - Hampshire Carols

Oh, down, oh, down in rosemerry Scotland
A very ancient carol from Hampshire recorded by Duncan Edmundstone and possibly originally Scottish. It may be intended to be an infancy narrative such as are found in some of the Apocryphal gospels. It may have some sexual undertones, though its meaning is somewhat obscure. I have made some small changes to remove some rather antisemitic language. The reference to taking down the rosemary (rosemerry) suggests that this might have been a carol intended either for the twelfth day of Christmas or for Candlemas.

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"The Infant Jesus with John the Baptist," by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682)
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