Category Archives: Carols

The Holly and the Ivy

I love the obliquity of some of the older Christmas carols. What do holly and ivy have to do with the birth of Christ? The early modern caroling imagination knew the answer. The holly and the ivy, Now both are … Continue reading

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From 1684

One of the Wexford carols. On Christmas night all Christians sing To hear the news the angels bring. News of great joy, cause of great mirth News of our King, his birth. The King of Kings of earth and heaven … Continue reading

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Solstice

The darkest midnight in December, No snow, no hail, nor winter storm, Shall hinder us for to remember, The Babe that on this night was born. With shepherds we are come to see, This lovely Infant’s glorious charms, Born of … Continue reading

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Isaiah in meter

Not all metrical psalms are from the Book of Psalms. Here is a peerless version of Isaiah 40:1-5 (quoted in my previous post), doubling as an old Advent song from the 17th century. Comfort, comfort, ye my people, Speak ye peace, thus … Continue reading

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Rosa mirabilis

There was a briar in a wood As dead as any stone, But see what from its stem has grown: Rosa mirabilis. O what am I, that from my bark A lively rose should bloom? When all the world was … Continue reading

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Hymn of the Cherubim

Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now lay aside all cares of this life, that we may receive the King of All, who comes invisibly upborne by the angelic … Continue reading

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