Christmas Hymns With Birds – The Worcester Christmas Carol

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

Words & Music by Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870), alt.

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

The Worcester Christmas Carol

How grand and how bright
That wonderful night,
When angels to Bethlehem came!
They burst forth like fires,
They struck their gold lyres,
And mingled their song with the flame.

The shepherds were mazed,
The pretty lambs gazed
At darkness thus turned into light:
No voice was there heard
From man, beast or bird,
So sudden and solemn the sight.

And then, when the sound reechoed around,
The hills and the dales all awoke:
The moon and the stars
Stopped their fiery cars,
And listened while Gabriel spoke:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

At mention of this,
(The source of all bliss,)
The angels sang loudly and long;
The soared to the sky,
Beyond mortal eye,
But left us the words of their song:

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca) by Raymond Barlow

Here are Ha­ver­gal’s orig­in­al lyr­ics for stan­zas where, due to ir­re­gu­lar­i­ties in me­ter, they do not ful­ly fit the mu­sic:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies all forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Most wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s but a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870) – The epitaph on Havergal’s white mar­ble tomb reads:

The Rev. William Henry Havergal, M.S.,
Vi­car of Shareshill and Hon. Canon of Worcester Ca­thed­ral.
Died at Leam­ing­ton, 19th Ap­ril 1870, aged 77.
Cur­ate 7, and Rec­tor 13 years, of this par­ish, 1822 to 1843.
A faith­ful min­is­ter in the Lord (Eph. Vi. 21).

Havergal was ed­u­cat­ed at Mer­chant Tay­lors School St. Ed­mund’s Hall, Ox­ford (BA 1815, MA 1819). He was or­dained a dea­con in 1816, and priest in 1817. He held three rec­to­rships: Ast­ley, Wor­ces­ter­shire (1829); St. Ni­cho­las, Wor­ces­ter (1842); and Shares­hill, near Wol­ver­hamp­tom (1860). Hymn­ist Franc­es Ha­ver­gal was his daug­hter.
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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ABC’s of the Gospel

Most information from The Cyber HymnalThe Worcester Christmas Carol

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Christmas Hymns With Birds – This Endris Night

Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) by Ian

Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) by Ian

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7 KJV)

Words & Music: 15th Century –  This Endris Night

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

This Endris Night

This endris night I saw a sight
A star as bright as day;
And ever among a maiden sung,
Lullay, by by, lullay.

This lovely lady sat and sung,
And to her Child did say:
My Son, my Brother, Father, dear,
Why liest Thou thus in hay?

Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris) ©WikiC

Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris) ©WikiC

My sweetest bird, thus ’tis required,
Though Thou be King veray;
But nevertheless I will not cease
To sing, By by, lullay.

The Child then spake in His talking,
And to his mother said:
“Yea, I am known as Heaven-King,
In crib though I be laid.

For angels bright down to Me light:
Thou knowest ’tis no nay:
And for that sight thou may’st delight
To sing, By by, lullay.

“Now, sweet Son, since Thou art a king,
Why art Thou laid in stall?
Why dost not order thy bedding
In some great kingès hall?

Methinks ’tis right that king or knight
Should lie in good array:
And then among, it were no wrong
To sing, By by, lullay.

“Mary mother, I am thy Child,
Though I be laid in stall;
For lords and dukes shall worship Me,
And so shall kingès all.

Ye shall well see that kingès three
Shall come on this twelfth day.
For this behest give Me thy breast
And sing, By by, lullay.

“Now tell, sweet Son, I Thee do pray,
Thou art my Love and Dear—
How should I keep Thee to Thy pay,
And make Thee glad of cheer?

For all Thy will I would fulfill—
Thou knowest well, in fay;
And for all this I will Thee kiss,
And sing, By by, lullay.

“My dear mother, when time it be,
Take thou Me up on loft,
And set Me then upon thy knee,
And handle me full soft.

And in thy arm thou hold Me warm,
And keep Me night and day,
And if I weep, and may not sleep,
Thou sing, By by, lullay.

“Now sweet Son, since it is come so,
That all is at Thy will,
I pray Thee grant to me a boon,
If it be right and skill,—

That child or man, who will or can
Be merry on my day,
To bliss Thou bring—and I shall sing,
Lullay, by by, lullay.

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Some of the archaic terms require explanation:
This endris night: The other night, a few nights ago
Veray: True
Light: Alight
No nay: Undeniable
Methinks: I think
Pay: Satisfaction
Fay: Faith
Boon: Favor
Skill: Reasonable

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More Birds in Hymns

See ~

Christmas Gospel Presentation

Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal – – This Endris Night

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