The Hymns and Carols of Christmas


The Cowley Carol Book
Second Series, Compiled and Arranged by George Ratcliffe Woodward, Mus. Doc.
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1912

First Series, Expanded and Enlarged, Preface To First Series
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1902
Second Series, Preface To Second Series
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., ca. 1912
Table Of Contents

This small volume of seven-and-thirty Carols is intended to be a continuation of The Cowley Carol Book, published by Messrs. Mowbray & Co. in the October of 1902.

As regards the words thereof. Whenever traditional, original, or translated material happened to be ready at hand (the words exactly agreeing with the meter, rhythm, and character of the music note), then the labour, skill, poetry, and piety of Dr. John Mason Neale, and of others, has again been readily laid under contribution. But, because the greater part of the melodies, chosen for this second series of Cowley carols, demand words in some peculiar or outlandish measure; and because your modern Carol-writer, as a rule, dislikes to be tied down to any unusual and difficult metre, that particular editor of this book, who is chiefly responsible for the selection of the aforesaid tunes, had no alternative but himself to set to work, and translate, or write, fresh carols, such as they are, but anyhow so versified and rimed as to suit the requirements of the music. This is the sole reason for the frequent recurrence of the initials, G. R. W. If there be an old-world ring in some of these new Carol-words, apology is neither needed, nor conceded on the part of the author thereof: for it seems only fitting and appropriate that the words should be in keeping with the somewhat antiquated tunes whereto they have here been wedded.

Concerning the melodies. Be it repeated that these are, all of them, more or less ancient; and be it observed that, so far as is possible, the sources thereof are given in the head-lines over every carol in turn.

As for the harmonies. These are written in accordance with the style and musical rules of the age, century, or country, wherein the tunes themselves seem, or are known, to have originated.

Dr. Charles Wood (who corrected the proof-sheets of the music in the former volume of Cowley Carols, and to whom that book was indebted, inter alia, for the settings of “Blessed be that Maid Marie,” “Sweet was the Song the Virgin sung,” “This joyful Eastertide”) is good enough to allow his name to figure, as co-editor, on the title-page of this present collection, which also contains many specimens of his handiwork.

It may be mentioned that six of the carols, viz. Nos. 67, 68, 70, 73, 82, and 83, have already appeared in Songs of Syon (Schott & Co.), 1910: but, in order that they may become more accessible to people in general, the above are now drafted into this second series of The Cowley Carol Book. But for the outbreak of the Great European War, this, or a similar, gathering together of carols had been printed in time for the Christmas of 1914.

Lastly, it is a pleasing duty gratefully to acknowledge the kindness and courtesy of the following publishers and gentlemen, who have given us free leave to make use of some of their musical work or copyright. Their names are as follows: Messrs. Chappell & Co. (New Bond Street) for permission to reprint William Byrde’s setting of “Shall I go walk the woods so wild” (Carol No. 78); Messrs. Augener & Co., and Mr. Charles Volkert (Great Marlborough Street), for similar leave to reproduce three arrangements of old English dances by Dr. John Bull (Carols Nos. 69, 78, and 102); and Mr. E. W. Goldsmith for his harmonization of the tune of “Gathering peascods” (Carol No. 82).

G. R. W.

Highgate, Michaelmas Day, 1919

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