This song is particularly English, because it is named after an English profession/institution called Waits, whereby watchmen were expected to prove their wakefullness by piping or singing at stated hours of the night. (Perhaps the man known as Tom Waits has found a perfect profession for his name.)

So if you hear someone playing the Trombone outside at three in the morning, be ye tempted to stick thy head out the window and shout at him, marry, sir, have patience. He is only fulfilling an ancient duty.


Tunes can be found here and here. Lyrics in the provided links do not precisely correspond to those posted here, but oh, you know how it is with folk songs. Lyrics are added and lost as the centuries go by.


The moon shines bright and the stars give light
A little before the day
Our Lord, Our God, he called on us
And bid us awake and pray!

Awake, Awake! good people all
Awake and you shall hear
The Lord our God, died on the cross
For us whom he loved so dear

O fair, O fair Jerusalem,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end,
Thy joy that I may see?

The fields were green as green could be,
When from His glorious seat,
Our Lord, our God, he watered us,
With His heavenly dew so sweet.

And for the saving of our souls
Christ died upon the cross,
We ne'er shall do for Jesus Christ
As he has done for us.

The life of man is but a span,
And cut down in its flower,
We are here today, and tomorrow gone,
We are all dead in an hour.

O pray teach your children, man
The while that you are here;
It will be better for your souls,
When your corpse lies on the bier.

Today you may be alive, dear man
Worth many a thousand pound;
Tomorrow may be dead, dear man,
And your body be laid under ground.

With one turf at your head,
O man, And another at your feet;
Thy good deeds and thy bad, O man,
Will all together meet.

My song is done, I must be gone,
I can stay no longer here;
God bless you all, both great and small,
And send you a happy new year!


A fuller explanation of the song can be found here.


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.