Monday, December 31, 2007

A Christmas Carol

It's not mid-winter, I know. Why, winter is still in its infancy. But this poem, by Christina Georgina Rosetti, is so nice that I couldn't resist sharing it here. It's a well-known hymn set to a number of musical settings. The best-known setting is probably the one by Gustav Holst. The last stanza is likely the most widely recognized and, arguably, the best loved. But the first stanza is the prettiest or, at least, the most "sense-itive" so to speak. It's just the way winter feels for most of the world.
It may seem too late for a Christmas carol, but Christmas lasts until 6.January (the twelve days of Christmas) for Western churches while the Eastern rite churches have yet to celebrate it.
On a personal note, I have enjoyed the poetry of CGR since I was a schoolgirl.

In the bleak midwinter
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 midwinter,
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 midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full 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 his mother only,
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.
(submitted by Moon Rani)

No comments: