Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmasy Things - Carols II

In 1872 Christina Rossetti wrote a Christmas poem that remained unpublished until 1904, ten years after her death. The five stanzas were set to music in 1906 by Gustav Holst and it remained the most popular setting though in a recent poll Harold Darke's 1911 version has been voted the best Christmas carol by some of the world's leading choirmasters and choral experts. I can see that from a choirs point of view but, in my opinion, for congregational singing the Holst is the finer version.

This version by Gloucester Cathedral Choir and congregation is particularly lovely.

In the bleak midwinter, 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 midwinter, 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 midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, 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.

22 dicembre - San Demetrio

1 comment:

AMOROMA said...

I love this poem. Thanks for sharing it!