The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Child My Choice

Compare: Let Folly Praise That Fancy Love

For Christmas

Words: Saint Robert Southwell, S.J., 1561-1595 (Arundel: 17th? Century.)

Tune: "The Holy Well," a traditional English Carol melody.

Source: Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #4, pp. 6-7.

1. Let folly praise what fancy loves,
I praise and love that Child,
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word,
Whose hand no deed defiled,
    I praise Him most, I love Him best,
    All praise and love is His;
    While Him I love, in Him I live,
    And cannot live amiss.

2. Love's sweetest mark, laud's highest theme,
Man's most desired light.
To love Him life, to leave Him death.
To live in Him delight.
    He mine by gift, I His by debt,
    Thus each to other due,
    First friend He was, best friend He is,
    All times will find Him true.

3. Though young, yet wise, though small, yet strong,
Though Man, yet God He is ;
As wise He knows, as strong He can,
As God He loves to bless.
    His knowledge rules, His strength defends,
    His love doth cherish all ;
    His Birth our joy, His Life our light,
    His Death our end of thrall.

4. Alas! He weeps, He sighs, He pants,
Yet do His Angels sing ;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs,
Doth bud a joyful spring.
    Almighty Babe, Whose tender Arms
    Can force all foes to fly,
    Correct my faults, protect my life,
    Direct me when I die !

Sheet Music From Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #4, pp. 6-7.

Sheet Music from Henry, Duke of Norfolk and Charles T. Gatty, eds., Arundel Hymns (London: Boosey & Co., 1905), Carol #37, pp. 56-57.

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Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), #29, pp. 50.

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Editor's Note:

Other Marion and Christmas-tide poems / carols by Robert Southwell, and the page numbers that those poems begin on, include:

All of these can be found in The Complete Poems of Robert Southwell (1872), available at both Google Books and, in multiple formats, the Internet Archive.

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