The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

George Wither's Hymns of the Christmas-tide

Editor's Note:

The texts of these songs are from George Wither, Hymns and Songs of the Church (London: Printed by the Assigns of George Wither, 1623, reprinted London: John Russell Smith, 1856), with music to two hymns by Orlando Gibbons (1583 1625). Music can be see in the 1623 London edition as well as the 1881 edition printed by the Spencerian Society (available from the Internet Archive).

The full title of this work is George Wither, The Hymnes and Songs of the Church. Divided into two parts. The first part comprehends the Canonicall Hymnes, and such parcels of Holy Scripture, as may properly be sung, with some other ancient Songs and Creeds. The second part consisls of Spirituall Songs, appropriated to the seuerall Times and Occasions obserueable in the Church of England. Translated and Composed by G. W. (London: Printed for G. W. 1623).

Many of these texts can also been seen in George Wither, Juvenilia; A Collection of Poems. Volume 2 of 2. (London: John Budge, 1622, 1852), pp. 398 ff.

George Wither (1855-1667, age 78) was an English poet and satirist who had a remarkable output; he was several times imprisoned due to his satiric writings. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. There are numerous biographies available on the World Wide Web as well as in print. See some of the links at Wikipedia, "George Wither." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 8 Jun. 2017.

These hymns are found in the Second Part of the Hymns and Songs of the Church:

Wither also composed poems based on his translations of four of the five Hymns of the New Testament:

Another George Wither Christmas carol is So, Now Is Come Our Joyfulst Feast, which was originally printed in Fair-virtue, the Mistresse of Philarete (London: G. Grismand, 1622).

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