The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

I Woke, From My Couch Uprising

For Christmas

Words: Quand la mièjo-nue sounavo

English Translation by K. W. Simpson

Music: A Provençal Noël.

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #91, pp. 28-29.

1. I woke, from my couch upspringing,
    When the midnight hour had rung.
I woke, from my couch uprising
    When the midnight hour had rung.
I heard a fair angel singing, singing
    Sweeter far than nightingale had sung.

2. To fear was I turned and flying,
    But He held me with His word:
To fear was I turned and flying,
    But He held me with His word:
He told of a Mother, lowly lying,
    Bearing there, in joy, the Son of God.

3. The sheep bleated loud together
    As the angel spake the word!
The sheep bleated loud together
    As the angel spake the word!
The lambs and the ewes rushed hither thither,
    (Hurdles shook), as though they too had heard!

4. Like logs were the shepherds slumb'ring
    (As the weary did they sleep)
Like logs were the shepherds slumb'ring
    (As the weary did they sleep)
They heard all the bells a tumbling-tumbling!
    'Wolves!' they cried in terror for their sheep.

5. But glad were the tidings given
    (By the angel voice declared)
But glad were the tidings given
    (By the angel voice declared)
He spake of the peace sent down from Heaven:
    Love of God to be by all men shared.

6. O come one and all, as bidden,
    (Ye are bidden every one)
O come one and all, as bidden,
    (Ye are bidden every one)
And there shall ye find in manger hidden,
    Truth and Light in God's Eternal Son.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #91, pp. 28-29.

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Note from Rev. Terry;

The conclusion of this carol, in the original, is most curious. The last verses are a strange outburst against the Dutch with whom Louis XIV had lately been at war. After enumerating the gifts which the Saviour brings from heaven (Peace, Love, Light and Truth) the poet goes on to say that they “cannot be for the Hollanders.” Our English translation adheres to the original save the lines regarding “the Hollanders.”

Editor's Note:

Given how subsequent editors are prone to “improve” upon existing carols, I would not be surprised if the original lacked the rant, added later by another, and then corrected by Rev. Terry. Just a thought.

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