John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Poet's Cormer: Welcome Yule!

Tomorrow, like last Sunday, is another of those mysterious holidays for which the Madison Public Library will close. December 29 is legitimately part of the holiday season, at least; it's the 5th day of Christmas, and since it falls on a Sunday this year, it's also the Feast of the Holy Family.

Thinking about the twelve days of Christmas reminds me of a song. Not that one, a much older one. This ancient carol enumerates various days of the Yuletide season: the Feast Days of Sts. Stephen Martyr (Dec. 26) and John the Evangelist (Dec. 27); the Feast of Holy Innocents (Dec. 28); the Feast of St. Thomas Becket (Dec. 29); New Year's Day (January 1); Twelfth Night (Jan. 5); and Candlemas (February 2). Here's the text:

Welcome Yule

Welcome Yule, thou merry man,
in worship of this holy day!

Welcome be thou, heavenly king,
Welcome born in one morning,
Welcome for whom we shall sing.
Welcome Yule.

Welcome be ye, Stephen and John,
Welcome Innocents every one,
Welcome Thomas Martyr one.
Welcome Yule.

Welcome be ye, good new year,
Welcome Twelfth Day both in fere,
Welcome Saintes lief and dear.
Welcome Yule.

Welcome be ye, candlemas,
Welcome be ye, Queen of bliss,
Welcome both to more and less.
Welcome Yule.

Welcome be ye that are here,
Welcome all and make good cheer,
Welcome all another year.
Welcome Yule!

Traditional English carol

I've performed at least two different choral settings of this, and I happen to have recordings of both that I will share with you, because I'm just that nice a guy. The first one is the Cathedral Choral Society's recording of Edwin Fissinger's setting of the tune; the second is the Christ Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir's performance of Benjamin Britten's setting from A Ceremony of Carols. Enjoy!

Tags: holidays: christmas, music, poet's corner, song lyrics

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