Merry Christmas

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 

    Awake! 

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. 

Chorus

    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, 

 Chorus

    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.

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