What Sweeter Music Can We Bring?

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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!

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Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honour to this day,
That sees December turn’d to May.

Why does the chilling winter’s morn
Smile like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like a meadow newly shorn,
Thus on the sudden?

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Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be:
‘Tis He is born whose quickening birth
Gives life and lustre 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.

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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.

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Which we will give him; and bequeath
This holly and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour who’s our King,
The Lord of all this revelling.

–“A Christmas Carol, Sung To The King In The Presence At Whitehall,” by Robert Herrick (1591-1674), 1648.


AFTERWORD: Thanks to our beloved St. Paul’s UMC choirmaster Tom Taylor for selecting this lovely piece, set to music by John Rutter, for our choir.  Prayers for your speedy convalescence, Tom!  Thanks to the estimable Alaine Fink for stepping capably into the breach, and leading us into this celebration of Christ’s birth.