Sunday, February 1, 2015

And the Christmas Season Ends

From A Clerk of Oxford:

The idea of celebrating Christmas for a month afterwards (rather than a month beforehand, as people generally do today) appeals to me, and seems somehow healthier than the modern desire to celebrate early and then purge as soon as January brings the return of workday routine. I don't know about you, but for me January is a much harder month to get through than December - colder and greyer, without anything in particular to look forward to - and if the thought of Christmas offers hope and comfort in the darkness, those are more welcome in January than at any other time. So I won't apologise for posting another medieval Christmas carol today; these carols are so full of wit, creativity and imagination that I can't resist sharing just one more out of the ample supply. (If you read a medieval Christmas carol a day for the forty days of the Christmas season, you wouldn't run out for years!). There are three of the forty days remaining, so here's a fifteenth-century carol which doesn't feel too out of place for the end of January; it looks both backward and forward.

There's only one day left of Christmastide today since tomorrow is Candlemas (and today is Septuagesima Sunday!), but here's the carol:

Tidings, tidings that be true,
Sorrow is past and joy doth renew.

Whereas Adam caused by sin
Our nature thus to be mortal,
A maiden's son doth now begin
For to repair us from that fall.
And that is true;
The name of him is Christ Jesu.

Some of our kind hath had such grace
That since his birth they did him see,
Both son and mother face to face
In the chief city called Jewry. [perhaps an error for 'of Jewry', i.e. Judea]
And that is true;
Both kings and shepherds they it knew.

The prophets thereof were nothing dismayed
Of the tidings before that they had told;
For now it is full right as they said,
A clean maid hath born a king in folde. ['on earth']
And that is true;
For he is born to wear the purple hue.

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