This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Bad Hymns 24

The Judges of the Eccles Bad Hymn Award are delighted to welcome "R.H.", the 18th-century author of "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree". So, R.H., you published this hymn in London's Spiritual Magazine, although only under your initials?

Newton and apple tree

Apple trees have long been a source of inspiration.

RH: Yes, I felt that anonymity was safest here, in case people started mocking my song. It was later published in Joshua Smith's hymnal.

E: Well, I'm about 200 years late, but I got to it in the end. I don't suppose that R.H. stands for Rolf Harris? The song has that sort of ring to it: perhaps an accompaniment with a didgeridoo or a wobble board would make it seem less silly?


These didgeridoo virtuosi also used the Apple label.

RH: No, not Rolf Harris.

E: Well, onto the song:

The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.
Calling Christ an apple tree isn't very Biblical, is it?

RH: Well, there are apple trees in the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), Eccles.

E: A bit far-fetched, Rolf. Still, resting under the tree, and eating its fruit, do tie in well with general Christian doctrine, IF you interpret Christ as an apple tree.

RH: I wrote another verse, all about drinking cider and falling over under the apple tree, but the Spiritual Magazine cut it out.

There's too much cider in my cup,
I need someone to pick me up.
Since I can't stand right now, Lord, see
Me doze beneath the apple tree.

Ooh, arr, we appreciates the fruit of an apple tree.

E: That was probably best. Moreover, apples have cosmetic uses, so I've written an extra verse for you:

My skin is wrinkled, full of spots,
But luckily I now get lots
Of vitamins, A, B and C,
In lotion from the apple tree.
Er, I left out Christ, as I am still not sure that He really has much to do with this hymn.

RH: Thanks, Eccles. Shall we contact the Spiritual Magazine? They may like to publish a new edition of my words.

E: Didn't it merge with the Tablet? Ah no, it's probably turned into this:

Spiritual magazine

Spiritual journalism.

RH: Well, thank you very much, Eccles.

E: My pleasure, Rolf.

Previous entries for the Eccles Bad Hymn Award:

Lord of the Dance.    Shine, Jesus, shine.    Enemy of apathy.    Walk in the Light.
Kum Ba Yah.    Follow me.    God's Spirit is in my heart.    Imagine.    Alleluia Ch-ch.
It ain't necessarily so.    I, the Lord of sea and sky.    Colours of day.    The red flag.
Go, the Mass is ended.    I watch the sunrise.    Bind us together, Lord.    Our god reigns.
My way.    Ding-Dong! The witch is dead.    If I were a butterfly.
Journeys ended, journeys begun.    The Galilee song.    The perfect face.


  1. Darling eccles, do they drink cider from chalices? Jess xx :)

  2. There are three old songs, Bruvver

    Apple Tree Wassail

    Old apple tree, we’ll wassail thee,
    And hoping thou wilt bear;
    The Lord does know where we shall be
    To be merry another year.
    To blow well and to bear well,
    And so merry let us be;
    Let every man drink up his cup:
    Here’s health to the old apple tree.

    Shouts at the conclusion: Capfulls! Hatfulls! Baskets full!
    Bushels full! Barrels full! Barn floors full!
    —and a little heap under the stairs!


    1. The tree of life my soul hath seen,
    Laden with fruit and always green:
    The trees of nature fruitless be
    Compared with Christ the apple tree.

    2. His beauty doth all things excel:
    By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
    The glory which I now can see
    In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    3. For happiness I long have sought,
    And pleasure dearly I have bought:
    I missed of all; but now I see
    'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

    4. I'm weary with my former toil,
    Here I will sit and rest awhile:
    Under the shadow I will be,
    Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    5. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
    It keeps my dying faith alive;
    Which makes my soul in haste to be
    With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    AND Medieval one, the oldest about a cherry tree

    1. Joseph was an old man,
    An old man was he,
    He married Virgin Mary,
    The Queen of Galilee.

    2. As Joseph and Mary was walking,
    Was walking one day,
    'Here are apples, here are cherries,'
    Mary did say.

    3. Then Mary said to Joseph,
    So meek and so mild,
    'Joseph gather me some cherries,
    For I am with child.'

    4. Then Joseph flew in anger,
    In anger flew he,
    'Let the father of the baby
    Gather cherries for thee.'

    5. Jesus spoke a few words,
    A few words spoke he,
    'Give my mother some cherries,
    Bow down, cherry tree!

    6. 'Bow down, cherry tree,
    Low down to the ground:'
    Mary gathered cherries,
    And Joseph stood around.

    7. Then Joseph took Mary
    All on his right knee,
    'What have I done, Lord ?
    Have mercy on me.'

    8. Then Joseph took Mary
    All on his left knee,
    'Oh tell me, little Baby, ,
    When thy birthday will be.'

    9. 'The sixth of January
    My birthday will be,
    The stars in the elements
    Will tremble with glee.'

    The second one I have heart at Lessons and Carols

    1. How about the Christmas Carol?

      Adam lay ybounden, Bounden in a bond,
      Four thousand winter, Thought he not too long.

      And all was for as Apple, An Apple that he took,
      As clerkes finden, Written in their book.

      Ne had the Apple taken been, The Apple taken been,
      Ne had never Our Lady, A been heavene queen.

      Blessed be the time That Apple taken was,
      Therefore we maun singen, Deo gratias,
      Deo gratias, Deo gratias!

    2. Sorry! I couldn't get past verse 2.

  3. The local Christian kindergarten has a "Jesus Tree" in their playground; it's for sad little children to stand underneath until someone notices them there and offers comfort. I suppose it could be an apple tree....
    Takes a lot of pressure off the playground supervisor.

  4. That hymn just gives me the pip, frankly.