The Word became Flesh, and dwelt among us.
After a week of musical meditation on the O Antiphons, I have found myself thinking today on this carol by Robert Herrick, which expresses so beautifully the joy we feel at the birth of the Infant Christ, the completely right instinct to feast and celebrate, and the nuptial joy of the Earth at the arrival of the Saviour. Today, many know these words better as they were adapted by John Rutter in his song What Sweeter Music, performed in the link by the Cambridge Singers.
Merry Christmas, one and all!
Carol for Christmas -Robert Herrick
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!
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything
1. Dark and dull night fly hence away!
And give the honour to this day
That sees December turn’d to May.
2. If we may ask the reason, say
The why and wherefore all things here
Seem like the spring-time of the year.
3. Why does the chilling winter’s morn
Smile like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like to a meadow new shorn,
Thus on a sudden?
4. Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be:
’Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and lustre, public mirth,
To heaven and the under-earth.
We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who with his sunshine and his showers
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
1. The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is we find a room
To welcome Him.
2. 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 honour, who’s our King
And Lord of all this revelling.