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Miles Lee
Miles Lee

The Merry Gentleman

In the English language of the time, the phrase 'Rest You Merry' didn't mean simply to be happy; 'rest' meant "to keep, cause to continue to remain" and 'merry' could mean "pleasant, bountiful, prosperous". So you could write the first line as "[May] God keep you and continue to make you successful and prosperous, Gentlemen" but that would be hard to sing!

The Merry Gentleman


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was also published in 1843 and the phrase 'Merry Christmas' appears 21 times in the book! Charles Dickens also quoted "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" in A Christmas Carol, but changed it to: "God bless you, merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay!" moving the comma to before the merry!

So let's not pretend. For the moment, your Christmas - the Big Whoopee Christmas - has won. My complaint (it may surprise you to know) is not that you have too much fun, but too little. Your merry, merry Christmas is not really that merry at all - it gets more like a laugh track every year.

I can hear you say, ``Rimbaud lies - I want everything.'' But if Rimbaud lies, so do you, because part of you, like Rimbaud, wants, above all, not to want everything. And to that you, I wish a merry Christmas - and more. 041b061a72


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