In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan; Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago. Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, Nor earth sustain, Heaven and earth shall flee away When He comes to reign: In the bleak mid-winter A stable place sufficed The Lord God Almighty -- Jesus Christ. 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 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 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 text with footnotes
First published in Scribner's Monthly, January 1872
- 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