Twelve Carols of Christmas: Twelfth Carol

The final carol has arrived!

There is in my opinion only one carol and that has to be We Three Kings by Edward John Hopkins (1818-1901)

This carol is a personal favourite of mine and I remember absolutely loving this carol as a child. It was also the first Christmas carol that I could play off by heart on the flute. I think I drove my parents crazy playing it over and over again.

 

We three kings of Orient are

We three kings of Orient are,

bearing gifts we traverse afar

field and fountain, moor and mountain,

following yonder star:

 

O star of wonder, star of night,

star with royal beauty bright,

westward leading, still proceeding,

guide us to thy perfect light.

 

Born a king on Bethlehem plain,

gold I bring to crown him again,

king for ever, ceasing never

over us all to reign:

 

Frankincense to offer have I,

incense owns a deity night;

prayer and praising, all men raising,

worship him, God most high:

 

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume

breathes a life of gathering gloom;

sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,

sealed in the stone-cold tomb:

 

Glorious now behold him arise,

king and God and sacrifice.

Heaven sings: “Alleluia’;

‘Alleluia,’ the earth replies:

 

Edward John Hopkins

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Eleventh Carol

It will be Epiphany soon, that means the Three Kings have finally come to their journey’s end and it also means the Christmas decorations have to come down. I always hate taking the decorations down; the house looks so bare and empty without them.

My chosen carol is an Epiphany carol. The carol is As with Gladness Men of Old by William Chatterton Dix. Dix wrote the carol on 6th January 1859 while he was ill in bed.

 

As with Gladness Men of Old

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led to Thee

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed
There to bend the knee before
Thee whom heaven and earth adore
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy-seat

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare
So may we with holy joy
Pure, and free from sin’s alloy
All our costliest treasures bring
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way
And, when earthly things are past
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright
Need they no created light
Thou its light, its joy, its crown
Thou its sun, which goes not down.
There forever may we sing
Hallelujahs to our King

 

William Chatterton Dix

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Tenth Carol

Today I have chosen my all time favourite carol but it has to be to the tune by Gustav Holst!

It is by my all time favourite poet Christina Rossetti.

 

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty —
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom Angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and Archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His Mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart.

 

Christina Rossetti

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Ninth Carol

Hello!

Have we all recovered from our New Year celebrations?

My chosen carol for today is by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898). The well known tune it is usually set to is Greensleeves.

 

What Child is this

 

What child is this, who laid to rest

on Mary’s lap is sleeping?

whom angels greet with anthems sweet,

while shepherds watch are keeping?

this, this is Christ the King,

whom shepherds worship and angels sing:

haste, haste to bring him praise

the babe, the son of Mary.

 

Why lies he in such mean estate,

where ox and ass are feeding?

Come, have no fear, God’s Son is here,

his love all loves exceeding:

nails, spear, shall pierce him through,

the cross be borne for me, for you:

hail, hail, the Saviour comes,

the babe, the son of Mary.

 

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh,

all tongues and peoples own him,

the King of kings salvation brings,

let every heart enthrone him:

raise, raise your song on high

while Mary sings a lullaby,

joy, joy, for Christ is born,

the babe, the son of Mary.

 

William Chatterton Dix

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Eighth Carol

Happy 2020!

May this year be everything you want it to be!

 

This carol I am not really very keen on singing or playing and will do anything possible to avoid it. However, I quite like the words so I have decided to include it.

 

Joy to the world

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

let earth receive her King;

let every heart prepare him room,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

 

Joy to the world, the Saviour reigns!

let all their songs employ;

while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

 

He rules the world with truth and grace,

and makes the nations prove

the glories of his righteousness

and wonders of his love,

and wonders of his love,

and wonders, wonders of his love.

 

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Seventh Carol

New Year’s Eve is here!

I hope everyone has some good plans for this evening.

For today’s chosen carol I have gone for a really upbeat one. I first came across this tune by hearing it on a Christmas album and it was played by Mike Oldfield. This carol is In Dulci Jubilo otherwise known as Good Christians all, rejoice.

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Listen now to what we say,

Jesus Christ is born today;

ox and ass before him bow,

and he is in the manger now!

Christ is born today;

Christ is born today!

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Hear the news of endless bliss,

Jesus Christ was born for this:

he has opened heaven’s door,

and we are blessed for evermore!

Christ was born for this;

Christ was born for this!

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Now you need not fear the grave;

Jesus Christ was born to save:

come at his most gracious call

to find salvation, one and all!

Christ was born to save;

Christ was born to save!

 

 

Latin and German, 14th Century

adapted by John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Sixth Carol

Well 2020 is approaching fast, I must admit I cannot believe how fast 2019 has gone!

My chosen carol for today is Gabriel’s Message which is based on The Magnificat and is believed to have been composed in the 13th century.

 

Gabriel’s Message

The Angel Gabriel from heaven came,

his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

‘All hail,’ said he, ‘thou lowly maiden Mary,

most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

‘For known a blessed Mother thou shalt be,

all generations laud and honour thee,

thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold;

most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,

‘To me be as it pleaseth God,’ she said,

‘My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name’:

most highly favoured lady.

Gloria!

 

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born

in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,

and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say

‘Most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

Basque Carol

paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Fifth Carol

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend so far.

Here is the next Carol.

This carol has several names Hymn for Christmas Day or The Hymn for Christmas but I know it as See, amid the winter’s snow. This carol was written by Edward Caswall (1814-1878) and the music was composed by Sir John Goss (1800-1880).

See, amid the winter’s snow

See, amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Chorus:

Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits among the cherubim.

Chorus

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

Chorus

“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light:
Angels singing ‘Peace On Earth’
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”

Chorus

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Chorus

Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.

Chorus

Edward Caswall.

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Fourth Carol

Hello!

This is another favourite of mine, that sadly is not sung much anymore. It is based on the Latin poem Corde natus by Aurelius Prudentius. It has been translated many times over the years and I have chosen my favourite translation.

 

Of the Father’s heart begotten

Of the Father’s heart begotten,
Ere the world from chaos rose,
He is Alpha, from that Fountain
All that is and hath been flows;
He is Omega, of all things,
Yet to come the mystic Close,
Evermore and evermore.

By His Word was all created
He commanded and ’twas done;
Earth and sky and boundless ocean,
Universe of three in one,
All that sees the moon’s soft radiance,
All that breathes beneath the sun,
Evermore and evermore.

He assumed this mortal body,
Frail and feeble, doomed to die,
That the race from dust created,
Might not perish utterly,
Which the dreadful Law had sentenced
In the depths of hell to lie,
Evermore and evermore.

O how blest that wondrous birthday,
When the Maid the curse retrieved,
Brought to birth mankind’s salvation
By the Holy Ghost conceived,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer
In her loving arms received,
Evermore and evermore.

Sing, ye heights of heaven, his praises;
Angels and Archangels, sing!
Wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful,
Let your joyous anthems ring,
Every tongue his name confessing,
Countless voices answering,
Evermore and evermore.

This is He, whom seer and sibyl
Sang in ages long gone by,;
This is He of old revealed
In the page of prophecy;
Lo! He comes the promised Saviour;
Let the world his praises cry!
Evermore and evermore.

Hail! Thou Judge of souls departed;
Hail! of all the living King!
On the Father’s right hand throned,
Through his courts thy praises ring,
Till at last for all offences
Righteous judgement thou shalt bring,
Evermore and evermore.

Now let old and young uniting
Chant to thee harmonious lays
Maid and matron hymn Thy glory,
Infant lips their anthem raise,
Boys and girls together singing
With pure heart their song of praise,
Evermore and evermore.

Let the storm and summer sunshine,
Gliding stream and sounding shore,
Sea and forest, frost and zephyr,
Day and night their Lord alone;
Let creation join to laud thee
Through the ages evermore,
Evermore and evermore.

Aurelius Prudentius

 

Translated by Roby Furley Davis

 

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Twelve Carols of Christmas: Third Carol

Time for another Carol.

My chosen carol today is Infant Holy. This carol is a Polish Christmas carol, it was translated into English in 1920 by Edith Margaret Gellibrand Reed (1885-1933).

 

Infant Holy

Infant holy,

Infant lowly,

For Hid bed a cattle stall;

Oxen lowing,

Little knowing

Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

Swift are winging

Angels singing,

Noels ringing,

Tidings bringing,

Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

 

Flocks were sleeping,

Shepherds keeping

Vigil till the morning new;

Saw the glory,

Heard the story,

Tidings of a Gospel true.

Thus rejoicing,

Free from sorrow,

Praises voicing,

Greet the morrow,

Christ the Babe was born for you!

 

Attributed to Piotr Skarga (1536-1612)

 

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