Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Seventh Day of Christmas: "King Jesus Hath a Garden"

This is one of my favorite carols of all, here sung by the Wells Cathedral Choir.   It makes it into the Christmas pantheon on account of the Bethlehem reference - and the joyous, celebratory melody and text - but it's more than a simple Christmas carol, too.  It was originally a Dutch traditional carol, Heer Jesus heeft een Hofken.

English words from this page:
1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.
There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.
2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, [Humility]. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marygold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
'Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, 'mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless'd be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

The notes on that same page about the carol say this:
Traditional Dutch from Geestlijcke Harmonie, Emmerich, 1633
Translation by Rev. George R. Woodward (1848-1934)
Source: George Radcliffe Woodward, ed., Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), # 430

Quite nice for such a lovely, colorful hymn to speak about virtues (or "Fruits of the Spirit"), and in such a beautiful way.

Posting this for pure enjoyment for the time being, but I'm going to see if I can find out more about the text at some point, too.....

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