April 22, 2014

Poem: Corpus Christi Carol

13th Century Illustration - Courtesy of Wikipedia 

The Corpus Christi Carol is an anonymous poem first found in a manuscript believed to have been written around 1504. Scholars have speculated (among other things) that the text may be an allegorical portrayal of the suffering Christ as a wounded knight. In 1933 Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) used it in the fifth variation of his choral composition: A Boy was Born, a version of which is featured in the following video. In the Divine Office (1974), Corpus Christi Carol is included in the Hymns and Religious Poems (Lent and Eastertide) Appendix.

Performed by Voces8

CORPUS CHRISTI CAROL - Anonymous, 1504 (Public Domain)

Lully, lullay, lully, lullay, 
The faucon hath borne my make away.

He bare him up, he bare him down,
He bare him into an orchard brown.

In that orchard ther was an hall
That was hanged with purple and pall.

And in that hall ther was a bed:
It was hanged with gold so red.

And in that bed ther lith a knight,
His woundes bleeding by day and night.

By that beddes side ther kneeleth a may,
And she weepeth both night and day.

And by that beddes side ther standeth a stoon:
Corpus Christi writen thereon.

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