Sunday, December 2, 2012

Masters, There are Only 24 Days till Christmas!

Upon this the first day of December I present to you the first of many pictures thusly proffered for your amusement. But enough with the speech from of old. It is time to announce my little twist on the countdown this year.

At the end of last year's countdown, I thought of the many Christmas carols which are beloved but highly obscured by crowd favorites like Jingle Bells and Joy to the World. So, I thought to explore the less widely known carols at a pace of one a day. The carol for today is "Masters in this Hall". I sang it years ago when I participated in a Madrigal dinner. We processed in on this song. I don't think we sang all twelve verses, but we did sing quite a few. This song sketches out the Christmas story from the point of view of a poor man who accompanies the shepherds to Bethlehem.


The picture today is of my first Christmas present which arrived earlier today. Presents feature largely in the Christmas season nowadays, but few remember that it started with the greatest gift of all: a baby.


1. Masters in this Hall,
    Hear ye news to-day
Brought from over sea,
    And ever I you pray:
Chorus
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
    Nowell, sing we clear!
Holpen are all folk on earth,
    Born is God's son so dear:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
    Nowell, sing we loud!
God to-day hath poor folk raised
    And cast a-down the proud.
2. Going o'er the hills,
    Through the milk-white snow,
Heard I ewes bleat
    While the wind did blow: Chorus
3. Shepherds many an one
    Sat among the sheep,
No man spake more word
    Than they had been asleep: Chorus
4. Quoth I, "Fellows mine,
    Why this guise sit ye?
Making but dull cheer,
    Shepherds though ye be? Chorus
5. "Shepherds should of right
    Leap and dance and sing,
Thus to see ye sit,
    Is a right strange thing": Chorus
6. Quoth these fellows then,
    "To Bethlem town we go,
To see a mighty lord
    Lie in manger low": Chorus
7. "How name ye this lord,
    Shepherds?' then said I,
"Very God," they said,
    "Come from Heaven high": Chorus
8. Then to Bethlem town
    We went two and two,
And in a sorry place
    Heard the oxen low: Chorus
9. Therein did we see
    A sweet and goodly may
And a fair old man,
    Upon the straw she lay: Chorus
10. And a little child
    On her arm had she,
"Wot ye who this is?"
    Said the hinds to me: Chorus
11. Ox and ass him know,
    Kneeling on their knee,
Wondrous joy had I
    This little babe to see: Chorus
12. This is Christ the Lord,
    Masters be ye glad!
Christmas is come in,
    And no folk should be sad: Chorus


And since you probably don't know the tune, you will by the end of this video!

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