The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Virgin's Slumber Song

English words by Edward Teschemacher;
Music by Max Reger

Amid the roses Mary sits and rocks her Jesus-Child
While amid the treetops sighs the breeze so warm and mild
And soft and sweetly sings a bird upon the bough
Ah, Baby, dear one
Slumber now

Happy is Thy laughter; holy is Thy silent rest
Lay Thy head in slumber fondly on Thy mother's breast
Ah, Baby, dear one
Slumber now

William L. Simon, ed., Readerís Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (1981)

Some songs written especially for Christmas become so well known that they eventually are thought of as folk songs. "The Virginís Slumber Song" is an example of just the opposite turn of events. Originally a folk-song melody to the words "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mild" (seepage 170), this graceful air was taken by the German composer Max Reger and transformed in 1912 into an art song, "The Virgin's Slumber Song," or "Maria Wiegenlied." Edward Teschemacher supplied an English translation of this lovely song, which echoes part of "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mild": the Virgin Mary singing to her Baby while He sleeps. The rhythm of both melody and accompaniment suggests the rocking of a cradle.

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