"God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", also known as "God
Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", is an English traditional
Christmas carol. The melody is in the minor mode. It
was published by William B. Sandys in 1833, although
the author is unknown.
Like so many early Christmas songs, the carol was
written as a direct reaction to the church music of the
15th century. However, in the earliest known
publication of the carol, on a c. 1760 broadsheet, it
is described as a "new Christmas carol", suggesting its
origin is actually in the mid-18th century. It appeared
again among "new carols for Christmas" in another 18th
century source, a chapbook believed to be printed
between 1780 and 1800.
It is referred to in Charles Dickens' A Christmas
Carol, 1843: "...at the first sound of — 'God bless
you, merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay!'— Scrooge
seized the ruler with such energy of action that the
singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog
and even more congenial frost."
I created this arrangement for Saxophone Quartet
(Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone) as a variation on a