What sweeter music can we bring, Than a carol, for to sing The birth of this our heavenly King? Awake the voice! Awake the string! [Heart, ear, and eye, and everything. Awake! the while the active finger Runs division with the singer.]1 Dark and dull night, fly hence away, And give the honor to this day, That sees December turned to May. [If we may ask the reason, say The why, and wherefore all things here Seem like the springtime of the year?]1 Why does the chilling Winter's morn Smile, like a field beset with corn? Or [smell, like to a mead new-shorn]2, Thus, on the sudden? Come and see The cause, why things thus fragrant be: 'Tis He is born, whose quick'ning birth Gives life and luster, public mirth, To heaven, and the under-earth. We see Him come, and know Him ours, Who, with His sunshine, and His showers, Turns all the patient ground to flowers. The darling of the world is come, And fit it is, we find a room To welcome Him. The nobler part Of all the house here, is the heart, Which we will give Him; and bequeath This holly, and this ivy wreath, To do Him honor; who's our King, And Lord of all this reveling.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Rutter.
2 Rutter: "smell like a mead newly shorn"
- by Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674), "A Christmas Carol, Sung To The King In The Presence At White-Hall" [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 Gordon Ware Binkerd (1916 - 2003), "What sweeter music" [text not verified]
- by Kenneth Leighton (1929 - 1988), "A Christmas Caroll", op. 21 (1953). [bass, chorus, and organ] [text verified 1 time]
- by John (Milford) Rutter, CBE (b. 1945), "What sweeter music?", 1988. [chorus] [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-07-03
Line count: 32
Word count: 212