Friday, December 20, 2013

THE LION'S NOEL, VIII. A Chorus of Critters

is stable is 

a Prince’s courte,
The cribbe His 

chaire of State;
The beastes 

are parcell of 

His pompe,
The wodden dishe, 

His plate.
Robert Southwell 

The Lion's Noël
A Book of Christmas Beasts

VIII. A Chorus of Critters

Carol of the Field Mice

Villagers all, this frosty tide,
Let your doors swing open wide,
Though wind may follow, and snow beside,
Yet draw us in by your fire to bide;
     Joy shall be yours in the morning!

Here we stand in the cold and the sleet,
Blowing fingers and stamping feet,
Come from far away you to greet --
You by the fire and we in the street --
     Bidding you joy in the morning!

For ere one half of the night was gone,
Sudden a star has led us on,
Raining bliss and benison --
Bliss tomorrow and more anon,
     Joy for every morning!

Goodman Joseph toiled through the snow --
Saw the star o'er a stable low;
Mary she might not further go --
Welcome thatch, and litter below!
     Joy was hers in the morning!

And then they heard the angels tell
"Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell,
In the stable where they did dwell!
     Joy shall be theirs in the morning!"

             Kenneth Grahame, 1859-1932, from "The Wind in the Willows"

"Carol of the Field Mice" set to music by Jonathan David Dixon

Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell...

One Clean March Morning Mary Was

One clean March morning Mary was
a-training up her flowers
out of their buckets on the twine
in the dewy hours.

She heard the garden gate swing round.
She looked up and she seen
great wings of a white butterfly
that stood and called her Queen.

It warn't no butterfly on earth
she knowed, and knowed it well.
She seen, quick as her eyes could stand,
hit was Archangel Gabriel.

"Mary," he says, "God sent me here
to learn you what he aims to do.
He aims to send his son on earth.
The mother will be you."

        James Agee, 1909-1955, from "Lines Suggested by a Tennessee Song"

Be Praised, My Lord, through All Your Creatures

From "The Canticle of the Sun"

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, 

especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; 

and you give light through him. 

And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! 

Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; 

in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, 

and clouds and storms, and all the weather, 

through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; 

she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, 

through whom you brighten the night. 

He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, 

who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits 

with colored flowers and herbs.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, 

and serve him with great humility.

         Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

Laudato sie mi signore cum tucte le tue creature

From "Il Cantico del Sole"

Laudato sie mi signore cum tucte le tue creature 

spetialmente messor lo frate sole. 

lo quale iorno et allumini per loi. 

Et ellu e bellu e radiante cum grande splendore. 

de te altissimo porta significatione.

                Francesco di Assisi, 1181-1226

From "All creatures of our God and King"

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,
     O praise him, O praise him,
     Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that givest man both warmth and light

Dear mother earth, who day by day
unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
let them his glory also show

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, Alleluia!

   Paraphrase of "Canticle of the Sun" by Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

The Babe

     A la rururu,
     My lovely Jesu,
     In sweetest slumber now rest, my dearest.

You elephant so huge, you small mosquito,
Be very still, you must not wake the Niño.

O night of glory, night of jubilation,
So richly blest by Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Such heav'nly voices in sweet accents singing,
The glorious tidings of His birth are bringing!

     A la rururu,
     My lovely Jesu,
     In sweetest slumber now rest, my dearest.

                 "El Rorro" a traditional carol from Mexico, translated by George K. Evans

Here is a choral setting of this lullaby with a slightly different translation:
"El Rorro" in a musical setting by Jeffrey Van

The Nativity by Sano Di Pietro

ut animalia viderent
Dominum natum,
jacentem in 

O magnum mysterium...

O great mystery
and wondrous sacrament,
that lowly creatures should see
God made man
lying in a manger.

                        Liturgical text from Christmas Matins

Morten Lauridsen's gorgeous setting of this text

An older setting of "O Magnum Mysterium" by Tomas Luis de Victoria

here ends
A Chorus of Critters


"Angel Butterfly" from

Painting: "St. Francis of Assisi" from

No comments:

Post a Comment