Robert Herrick

(1591-1674 / London / England)

A Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall


Chorus.

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 every thing
Awake! the while the active Finger
Runs division with the Singer.

From the Flourish they came to the Song.

Voice 1:
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this Day,
That sees December turn'd to May.

Voice 2:
If we may ask the reason, say:
The why, and wherefore all things here
Seem like the Spring-time fo the year?

Voice 3:
Why does the chilling Winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell, like to a mead new-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden?

Voice 4:
Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quick'ning Birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To Heaven and the under-Earth.

Chorus:
We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who, with His Sun-shine, and His Showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

Voice 1:
The Darling of the World is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him.

Voice 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 honor; who's our King,
And Lord of all this Revelling.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Lindsay George Eaglesham (12/22/2006 4:28:00 PM)

    The simplest phrase can be sublime in its context: ...'The Darling of the world is come, and fit it is we find a room to welcome Him.'
    Achingly beautiful when I heard it sung, by King's College Cambridge boys I think it was. The effect of a beautiful phrase reminds me of a remark by Thomas Mann: 'Beauty can pierce one like a pain.' (Report) Reply

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