I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In) - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Let me start with a warning to all singers - this song is difficult!  There are so many words, and they fall over one another so quickly!  Listen to Sting and marvel; then have a go yourself.  And remember to take a deep breath before you start!  For guitarists: there aren't many chords, but you are going to have to be nimble with your chord changes.  As to its origins: I Saw Three Ships, which is also known as 'I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In', is an English Christmas Carol that was first published in 1833, but which is probably much older.

Chords

Capo at 5th Fret


   C                G7               Am      G7
I saw three ships come sailing in

      F                              G
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;

    C               G7               Am      G7
I saw three ships come sailing in

       F                                  G7  C
On Christmas day in the morning.

Lyrics

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.


And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

Well Jesus Christ and his Lady,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Jesus Christ and his Lady,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
Pray, whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

O, they sailed to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
O, they sailed to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the angels in heaven shall sing,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
All the angels in heaven shall sing,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice - amen,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
Then let us all rejoice - amen,
On Christmas day in the morning.

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

Other Christmas Carols