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christmas song
Traditional English carol whose origins are unknown. While some sources (without much evidence) date the carol to the 16th century or even earlier, the earliest known text is in a handwritten volume of recusant verse and prose associated with Jesuit families in Warwickshire that was assembled in the 1650s. The words are recognisably those of the carol, although the first line is "Sit you merry Gentlemen". By the early 1700s, the carol was beginning to be printed in broadsides (with "God rest you merry Gentlemen" as the first line) and by the turn of the century into the 1800s, the carol had become very popular and well-known. Charles Dickens mentioned it in his novella "A Christmas Carol" (1843). The words have been put to several tunes over the years, the oldest and most common of which may have its origins in a dance named "Chestnut (or Doves Figary)", first published in John Playford's The English Dancing Master (1651).
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Added by baggish