sedens (sedens) wrote,
sedens
sedens

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Another carol. (I plan to keep this up until Epiphany: fair warning!)

Text by Bruce Barnes, haunting musical setting by Peter Warlock (worth tracking down, if you don't know this one). Written in 1927, and first published in the London Daily Telegraph. (Time was when a good many English newspapers printed a new carol each Christmas. As best I can tell--I did some work on this when I was in graduate school--the Illustrated London News started this practice in the early 1840s.)

Bethlehem Down

"When he is King we will give him the King's gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown,
Beautiful robes," said the young girl to Joseph,
Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.

Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight--
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,
Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

When he is King they will clothe him in gravesheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.

Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.
Tags: carols
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