by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 - 1894)
Translation © by Geart van der Meer

In the bleak mid‑winter
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRI GER
 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?


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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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

Yn de fûle winter
Language: Frisian  after the English 
Yn de fûle winter
Flime skerp de wyn;
Paden hurd as izer,
Wetter hurd as stien;
Snie as fine jiske
Wiske op ’e wyn;     
Yn de fûle winter - 
Lang al lyn.  

Foar God is de Himel
En de wrâld te’ ûnrom,
Ierde’ en himel flechtsje 
As Syn ryk hjir komt.
Yn de fûle winter 
Kaam hjir op ’e wrâld,
Jezus, Hear Almachtich,
Op in stâl sa kâld.

Mar foar wa’t oanbidde
Ingels nacht en dei,
Wie genôch in memmeboarst, 
Hea dêr’t Hij yn lei.
Him foar wa’t de ingels 
Knibbelje om bar,
Wylst okse, ezel en kamiel
Dogge lykas har.

Ingels en aartsingels
Yn in grutte kloft,
Kearubyn en searafyn,
Sweevje yn ’e loft;
Mar ‘t is mem Marije
Allinne dêr’t sij sit,
Dy’t har ynleaf jonkje
Mei in tút oanbidt.

En ik: wat kin ik Him jaan,
Sút’rich sa’t ik kaam? --
Wie ik mar in skeper,
Dan joech ik in laam;
Hie ik mar wat wiisheid,
Talmje soe ik net –
Inkeld wat ik jaan kin,
Is myn hert. 

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  • Translation from English to Frisian copyright © 2016 by Geart van der Meer, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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This text was added to the website: 2016-01-16
Line count: 40
Word count: 171