A very old (1567) piece of religious poetry
by the Wedderburn brothers. An all-time favorite of British
musicians, it was put into music
many times since then. The most striking version is probably the one by Benjamin Britten
, who made a breathtaking arrangement of the last two paragraphs. Eerie
, out-of-this-world atmosphere, sounds like a fairy queen hymn
(I've never heard a fairy queen hymn, and chances are, neither have you, but just trust
me: that's exactly
what it sounds like). The kind of things you'll remember in the next life
Full text follows (Middle English
purists, please remember that this text has been written by Scotsmen
I come to hevin which to tell
The best nowells that e'er befell
To you thir tythings trew I bring
And I will of them say and sing.
This day to you is born ane child
Of Marie meik and Virgin mild
That bliss it bairn bening and kind
Sall you rejoyce baith hart and mind.
Lat us rejoyis and be blyth
And with the Hyrdis go full swyth
And see what God of his grace hes done
Throu Christ to bring us to his throne.
My saull and life stand up and see
Wha lyis in ane cribbe of tree.
What Babe is that, sa gude and fair
It is Christ, God's son and Air.
O my deir hard, yung Jesus sweit
Prepair thy creddil in my spreit!
And I sall rock thee in my hart
And never mair fra thee depart.
Bot I sall praise thee evermoir
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir
The kneis of my hard sall I bow
And sing that rycht Balulalow.