A Feast for Christmas

Song Cycle by Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927)

Word count: 475

1. The Christmas tree [sung text not yet checked]

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Authorship

  • by Anonymous / Unidentified Author
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2. Blow, blow, thou winter wind [sung text not yet checked]

Blow, blow thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As [man's]1 ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
[Because]2 thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
[ Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.]3

Freeze, freeze thou [bitter]4 sky,
[Thou dost]5 not bite so [nigh]6
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As [friend]7 remember'd not.
[ Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.]3

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

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François Pierre Guillaume Guizot)
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (David Paley) , "Stürm, stürm du Winterwind!", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Soffia, soffia vento invernale", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Soffia, soffia, vento d'inverno", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
Note: In Steele's score, "Heigh" is spelled "Hey"
1 Arne: "men's"
2 Parry: "Although"
3 not set by Arne.
4 Fortner: "winter"
5 Clearfield, Holman: "That does"
6 Korngold: "high"
7 Clearfield: "a friend"; Steele: "friends"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. On Christmas Eve [sung text not yet checked]

On Christmas Eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve the mass was sung;
That only night, in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then opened wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doffed his pride.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Sweet dreams, form a shade  [sung text not yet checked]

Sweet dreams, form a shade
[O'er]1 my lovely infant's head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!

Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother's [smile]2,
All the livelong night [beguile]3.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thine eyes!
Sweet moan, sweeter [smile]2,
All the dovelike moans [beguile]3.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o'er thee [thy]4 mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Carmichael: "Round"
2 Carmichael: "smiles"
3 Carmichael: "beguiles"
4 Baxter: "doth"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Make we joy now in this feast [sung text not yet checked]

Make we joy now in this fest,
In quo Christus natus est.
Eya, eya.

A Patre Unigenitus,
Is through a maiden come to us:
Sing we of Him and say
'Welcome' Veni, Redemptor gencium.

Agnoscat omne seculum,
A bright star made three kings to come,
Him for to seek with their presen's,
Verbum supertum prodiens.

A solis ortus cardine,
So mighty a Lord is none as He:
And to our kind He hath Him knit,
Adam parens quod polluit.

Maria ventre concepit,
The Holy Ghost was aye her with,
Of her in Bethlem born He is,
Consors paterni luminis.

O Lux beata Trinitas,
He lay between an ox and ass,
Beside His mother maiden free,
Gloria Tibi Domine.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]