Saturday, December 04, 2010

Surprised by Christmas, 3rd edition

It seems that every year, a Christmas song that I have heard a hundred times or have not noticed, all the sudden surprises me with how beautiful it really is once I pay attention to the words.  First, it was Little Dummer Boy, then Good King Winceslas, and this year it is What Sweeter Music.  The latter has been on a compliation CD of sared hymns that I've listened too over and over tons of times.  But, I looked up the words a few days ago and they are absolutely beautiful.  Listen to this hymn and read the words at the same time.

A Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall

WHAT sweeter music can we bring,
Than a Carol, for to sing
The Birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the Voice! Awake the String!
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this Day,
That sees December turn'd to May. 2x

Why does the chilling Winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell, like a meadow newly shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see

The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quick'ning Birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To Heaven and the under-Earth.

We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who, with His Sun-shine, and His Showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers. 2x

The Darling of the World is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him. 2x

The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the Heart,
Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This Holly and this Ivy Wreath,
To do Him honor; who's our King,
And Lord of all this Revelling. back

[The Musical Part was composed by Master Henry Lawes].
Robert Herrick

No comments: