The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Great Gentlefolk Hold And Bethink You

For Christmas

Words and Music: Jaon handiak ikhousazie, Old Basque Carol

Words Translated by the Rev. J. O'Connor

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #95, pp. 8-9.

1. Great gentlefolk hold and bethink you
Has anyone seen Him in tears;
Has one, till this night of the years
Ever imagined the like?
In deed it is food for tears.

2. For He is the master of being,
Archangels and kings and the rest:
And even His whisper'd behest
Makes all the mightiest to bow
Can they that exist resist?

3. We all were in Satan's dominion
But God condescended to save,
For love took the garb of a slave
Sharing our utter distress
To cure it, His life He gave.

4. So justice achieveth all mercy
The innocent pays for the crime
Eternal descends into time
Infinite homes Him in stall
So low, for your souls come all!

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #95, pp. 8-9.

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