It’s Election Day in the UK and, as luck would have it, we have a political Christmas carol here in the office!
According to Fuld, the music of ‘God rest you merry gentlemen’ ‘is said to have been in a broadside printed … about 1796, but no copy of the broadside has been found. The earliest known printing of the melody, and words, is in one of two satirical pamphlets: one is A Political Christmas Carol ([London:] Printed by W[illiam]. Hone … ), with an advertisement dated Jan. 20, 1820; the other is The Man in the Moon, dated 1820, without reference on the title page to a later edition. Both pamphlets lack the name of the composer and page numbers, and were published by William Hone, London’ (p. 249).
The words we now know were first printed by Sandys, in 1833, which we covered in yesterday’s blog post.