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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.
M. Trotta sets stanzas 1-2, 5
S. Wilkinson sets stanza 1
B. Britten sets stanza 1
About the headline (FAQ)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?
- by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 - 1894), "A Christmas Carol" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Harold Edwin Darke (1888 - 1977), "In the bleak midwinter" [text not verified]
- by Gustav Holst (1874 - 1934), "In the bleak midwinter" [chorus a cappella] [text verified 1 time]
- by Leonard J[ordan] Lehrman (b. 1949), "What can I give?", op. 145, first performed 2000 [2-part chorus with accompaniment], canon [text not verified]
- by (Robert) Bruce Montgomery (1921 - 1978), "In the bleak midwinter", published 1948 [SATB chorus, strings, and piano obbligato], from Christ's Birthday [text not verified]
- by Mick Swithinbank (b. 1953), "In the bleak midwinter" [SSATBB chorus a cappella] [text verified 1 time]
- by Michael John Trotta (b. 1978), "In the bleak midwinter", published 2010, stanzas 1-2,5 [SATB chorus, piano, and oboe], Colla Voce [text verified 1 time]
- by Stephen Wilkinson (b. 1919), "Winter snow", stanza 1 [voice and piano], from the collection Eternal Summer, no. 2. [text verified 1 time]
This text (or a part of it) is used in a work
- 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 the cantata A Boy was Born, no. 6, Chester Music.
Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
- GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- FRI Frisian (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 40
Word count: 168
Tief im kalten Winter brach ein Sturm herein; Erde lag wie Eisen. Wasser wie Gestein; Schnee ging nieder, bergeschwer, Schnee auf Schnee lag schwer, tief im kalten Winter lang ist’s her. Nicht fassen kann der Himmel, nicht halten Ihn die Erd’, Erde, Himmel wird vergeh’n, wenn Gott wiederkehrt: tief im kalten Winter ein Stall die Herberg’ ist dem Herrn in Seiner Allmacht, Jesus Christ. Genug für Ihn, dem Cherubim huldigen allzeit? Ihm ward nur die Brust und der Krippe Heu bereit; genug für Ihn, dem Engel sind sonst Geleit, wenn Ochs, Kamel und Esel Ihm zur Seit’? Engel und Erzengel fänden sich sonst ein, Cherubim’ und Seraphim’ endlose Reih’n. Doch nur seine Mutter Ehre Ihm erweist: Selig sie das Kindlein küsst und preist. Was kann ich schenken, arm, der ich bin? - Wäre ich ein Hirte, gäb’ ein Lamm ich hin, wär ich klug, dann wüsst' ich’s, fänd’ es anderwärts. Doch was ich kann, das schenk’ ich - schenk’ mein Herz.
About the headline (FAQ)
- Singable translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2014 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.
Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.deIf you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
- a text in English by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 - 1894), "A Christmas Carol"
This text was added to the website: 2014-12-30
Line count: 40
Word count: 161