Dilly Carol is another Christmas song I’d never heard before being introduced to it by Kate Rusby.
It is another example of the way simple numerical progression and lyrical repetition served to reinforce memorisation of lyric and content among those who wouldn’t have had easy common access to printed materials.
Folk singing at its best.

The lyrics:
1
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you one, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
One of them was all alone,
Evermore will be, oh.
2
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you two, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Two of them were lily babes,
Dressed all in green, oh.
3
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you three, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Three of them were strangers,
Come to see the babe, oh.
4
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you four, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Four the four evangelists,
Down among the green, oh.
5
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you five, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Five are ferrymen in the boat,
Sailing on the sea, oh.
6
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you six, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Six the gospel preacher,
Stories all to tell, oh.
7
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you seven, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Seven the stars all in the sky
Shining there above, oh.
8
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you eight, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Eight is for the morning break,
When all the birds awake, oh.
9
Come and I will sing you.
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you nine, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Nine is for the dilly bird,
Never seen but heard, oh.
Come and I will sing you.
10
Green grow the rushes, oh
I will sing you ten, oh.
Down among the rushes, oh.
Ten the hand of kindness,
Ten begins again, oh.

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