Wednesday, 3 December 2008

In the Bleak Midwinter

I am not particularly religious but I have always enjoyed the Christmas story and I love carols.

In the bleak midwinter is a favourite. I love the description of a Narnia like (always winter but never Christmas) winter in the first stanza/ verse.

My favourite verse though is the final one. 'What can I can I give him, poor as I am?... give my heart'.

In the Bleak Midwinter
Christina Rosetti (1872)

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,
Worshipped 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.

Poem/ carol courtesy of:

Pictures courtesy of:


Anonymous said...

Good choice. I love the tune to which this is sung though I have no idea who composed it (off to Google!). It sums up the wonder of Christmas in a reflective manner. donanicola

Anonymous said...

Just googled - Holst of Planets fame. I am glad I found that out - thanks for the prompt! dn

Jayne said...

Christina Rosetti wrote In The Bleak Midwinter? Ooo I love learning new things like this - thank you! I never enjoyed singing this song at school, it was pitched very low, and we all had high squeaky voices so it was a bit painful :) But that first stanza plays beautifully with melanchony and 'time of ages' somehow - yes, very Narnia!

ScentScelf said...

I did not know there was music for this! Will go investigate...but before I do, will also mention that the sentiment is reflected in one of my favorite Christmas songs, The Little Drummer Boy.

Rose said...

Donanicola- I love the music too and wouldn't have known it was Holst either- good detective work!

Rose said...

Hi Jayne, Yes! I didn't know until recently either. I have had a low voice since childhood so it quite suited me but I think I was in the minority. Yes glad you see the Narnia thing too. Although partly when I think of it being always winter and never Christmas I also think of the witch conjuring turkish delight and hot chocolate and how nice that would be... without the witch and the never Christmas part

Rose said...

Scentscelf, yes I love that one too. In the Bleak Midwinter is very traditional sounding- hopefully you can find it on youtube or somewhere :-)

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

This is my favourite carol..!

Rose said...

Hi Here, there... thanks for stopping by. Mine too!

Kilauea Poetry said...

I'm commenting almost the middle of January..I was scrolling and happen to see this- Just beautiful..thanks. I'm amazed at all the snowy blog posts I see- so fabulous being that I'm in the middle of the pacific! Have a great day and you have a lovely blog-