Thursday, December 14, 2017

Advent 2017, Post 12, Ancient Carols

Behold a simple tender babe,
In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies:
Alas! A piteous sight.
2. The inns are full; no man will yield
This little Pilgrim bed;
But forced He is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud his head. 
3. Despise Him not for lying there;
First what He is inquire:
And orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire. 
4. Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by Him feed;
Weigh not His Mother's poor attire,
Nor Joseph's simple weed.2  (Old word for dress)
5. This stable is a Prince's Court,
The crib His chair of state,
The beasts are parcel on His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate; 
6. The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince Himself is come from heaven,
This pomp is prized there. 
7. With joy approach, O Christian soul,
 Do homage to thy King;
And highly praise His humble pomp,
Which He from heaven doth bring.'
This carol is by Robert Southwell, an English priest in the 16th century, who was martyred in that time of religious strife and lack of religious freedom. Southwell reminds us of Mary and Joseph's poverty.

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