Variation V: In the bleak mid-winter / Corpus Christi Carol

Set by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), "Variation V: In the bleak mid-winter / Corpus Christi Carol", op. 3 no. 6, rev. 1955, first performed 1934 [ men's chorus, women's chorus, boys' chorus a cappella (organ ad libitum) ], from cantata A Boy was Born, no. 6, Chester Music  [sung text checked 1 time]

Note: this setting is made up of several separate texts.

 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.

[ ... ]


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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

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?

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

Lully, lulley, lully, lulley,
The falcon hath borne my make away.

He bare him up, he bare him down,
He bare him into an orchard brown.

In that orchard there was an hall
That was hangëd with purple and pall.

And in that hall there was a bed,
It was hangëd with gold so red.

In that bed there lieth a knight,
His woundës bleeding, day and night.

By that bedside kneeleth a may,
And she weepeth both night and day.

And by that bedside there standeth a stone,
Corpus Christi written thereon. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]