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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CHRISTMAS CAROLS YOU DON'T KNOW - Wexford Carol

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.

Wexford, England is a town on the southeastern coast of Ireland, the site of the disastrous 1798 Irish rebellion against English rule. It also is a place where this Christmas Carol is said to have originated, or at least in Wexford county. The first time I ever heard this was off a Firestone Christmas album from the 1960s my parents got with gas one December, and I've heard it again rarely on especially beautiful Christmas collections.

Like so many of these obscure songs, "Wexford Carol" is probably better known in England but should be better known here in America as well. The song is simple enough, just a telling of the tale of Christ's birth and a call for love, gratitude, and joy.



Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go”, the angels said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born.”

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Like most of the Julie Andrews songs on the Firestone discs, her friend Andrew Previn did the arrangement and its especially lush. Here's an alternative version with Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss, who has one of the most beautiful voices ever.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mal said...

Another great choice, Christopher.
I think my favourite version is the Chieftains'; featuring Nancy Griffith. Wonderful stuff.
I found a passable upload of it at YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdnrHE6FP5w

11:02 AM, December 21, 2011  

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