What are the lyrics to ‘I Saw Three Ships’?

Here are the lyrics to the popular Christmas carol 'I Saw Three Ships'

What are the lyrics to 'I Saw Three Ships'?

When was ‘I Saw Three Ships’ composed’?

It is unknown who wrote and composed the Christmas carol ‘I Saw Three Ships’ but the first printed version appeared in the 17th century.

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What do the ships in ‘I Saw Three Ships’ represent?

As Bethlehem is a good way from the coast, it is highly unlikely Mary and Joseph boarded seafaring ships. Instead it is believed that the ships mentioned in the song represent the three ships that carried the purported relics of the Three Wise Men to Cologne Cathedral in the 12th century or perhaps they refer to the camels the wise men rode to visit baby Jesus, as camels are known as the ships of the desert.

Either way it remains a much-loved Christmas carol

What are the lyrics to ‘ I Saw Three Ships’?

As I sat on a sunny bank,
A sunny bank, a sunny bank,
As I sat on a sunny bank
On Christmas-Day in the morning.

I spy’d three ships come sailing by,
Come sailing by, come sailing by,
I spy’d three ships come sailing by
On Christmas-Day in the morning.

And who should be with these three ships,
With these three ships, with these three ships,
And who should be with these three ships
But Joseph and his Fair Lady.

O he did whistle, she did sing,
And all the bells on earth did ring
For joy that our Saviour Christ he was born
On Christmas-Day in the morning

ind more lyrics to your favourite Christmas carols here

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Image credit: Getty Images