Today a friend emailed me the lyrics to this Christmas carol, with which I was previously unfamiliar. The words were written by Thomas Pestel, and the music is a 15th century English carol arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Behold the great Creator makes
Himself a house of clay,
A robe of virgin flesh He takes
Which he will wear for aye.
Hark, hark, the wise eternal Word,
Like a weak infant cries!
In form of servant is the Lord,
And God in cradle lies.
This wonder struck the world amazed,
It shook the starry frame;
Squadrons of spirits stood and gazed,
Then down in troops they came.
Glad shepherds ran to view this sight;
A choir of angels sings,
And eastern sages with delight
Adore this King of kings.
Join then, all hearts that are not stone,
And all our voices prove,
To celebrate this holy One,
The God of peace and love.
Words: Thomas Pestel (ca. 1586-1600), 1639
Tune: English carol, 15th century, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The St. Peter’s Choir, St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, PA