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[personal profile] pegkerr
It is really an advent carol, but almost entirely unknown, I think. About its origins says:
John Taylor, Postbridge aged 85, Tune not recorded in Killerton Ms but can be found in the Rough Ms. Baring-Gould gives a second version which he says is closer to the broadside ballad.
K3 p297
from Sabine Baring-Gould and the folk songs of South-West England

The gorgeous version I have is by Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra (here you can hear small sample).

I found another artist who put the whole song online, giving it a different title.

Here are the lyrics of the version I know:

Cold winter is come with its cold chilling breath
And the leaves are all gone from the trees
All nature seems touched by the finger of death
And the streams are beginning to freeze
When the wanton young boys o'er the rivers slide
When flowers attend us no more
In plenty you're sitting by the warm fireside
That's the time to remember the poor.

2. When the cold feathery snow from the North does descend
It blankets the prospects around
The keen cutting wind from the North will attend
And cover it over the ground
When the bright, twinkling stars they proclaim the cold night
And the rivers are froze on the shore
When the hills and the dales are all mantled with white
That's the time to remember the poor.

3. When the poor harmless hare he escapes from the wood
His footprints indented the snow
When the lips and the fingers are tinted with blood
And sportsmen a hunting do go
When poor Robin Redbreast approaches your cot
When icicles hang from the door
When the smoke it does billow, reviving and hot
That’s the time to remember the poor.

4. Soon the time will be near when our Savior on Earth
The ends of the Earth will rejoice
And angels and men Alleluia shall sing
Then the rich will lie down with the poor
Then the rich must remember the poor.
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