The Holly and the Ivy

As I have mentioned in previous posts, holly and ivy, being winter evergreens, were often used to decorate homes for winter festivals. They signify the promise of new life and so were adapted from Pagan rituals to fit nicely in with the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus.Photo of holly

The Holly and the Ivy is also the name of a Christmas carol. This carol seems to have existed in some form since the 17th Century and has been rewritten over the centuries. The first verse goes like this:

The Holly and the Ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The Holly bears the crownPhoto of ivy berries

Apparently, no doubt whilst strumming idly on his lute, King Henry VIII came up with his own ditty about holly and ivy. Given his somewhat turbulent lovelife the lyrics sound more hollow than holly:

Green groweth the holly,
So doth the ivy.
Though winter blasts blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly.
As the holly groweth green
And never changeth hue,
So I am, ever hath been,
Unto my lady true.
As the holly groweth green
With ivy all alone
When flowers cannot be seen
And greenwood leaves be gone,
Now unto my lady
Promise to her I make,
From all other only
To her I me betake.
Adieu, mine own lady,
Adieu, my special
Who hath my heart truly
Be sure, and ever shall.Photo of holly

4 thoughts on “The Holly and the Ivy

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