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Christ's Birthday

Word count: 168

Song Cycle by (Robert) Bruce Montgomery (1921 - 1978)

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?. In the bleak midwinter [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRI GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRI Frisian (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


 In the bleak mid-winter
 Frosty wind made moan;
Earth [stood]1 hard as iron,
 Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
 [Snow on snow]2,
In the bleak mid-winter
 [Long]3 ago.

[Our God,]2 heaven cannot hold Him,
 Nor earth sustain,
[Heaven and earth shall flee away]2
 When He comes to reign:
[In the bleak mid-winter
 A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty --
 Jesus Christ.]2

Enough for Him whom Cherubim
 Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk,
 And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him whom Angels
 Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
 Which adore.

Angels and Archangels
 May have gathered there,
Cherubim and Seraphim
 Thronged the air;
But only His Mother
 In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the Beloved
 With a kiss.

What can I give [Him]4
 Poor as I am? --
If I were a Shepherd
 I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
 I would do my part,--
[Yet]2 what I can I give Him, --
 Give my heart.


View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Scribner's Monthly, January 1872
1 Trotta: "grew"
2 omitted by Trotta.
3 Trotta: "Long, long"
4 omitted by Walton?

Submitted by Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

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