Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 1 December 2008

GBMD - The Field Mice's Carol


Villagers all this frosty tide
Let your doors be open wide
Though wind may follow, and snow beside
Yet draw us in by your fire to bide
Joy shall be yours in the morning!

Here we stand in the cold and the sleet
Blowing fingers and stamping our feet
We come from far away you to greet
You by the fire and we in the street
Bidding you joy in the morning!

For ere one half of the night was gone
Sudden a star has led us on
Raining bliss and benison *
Bliss tomorrow and more anon
Joy for every morning!

Goodman Joseph toiled through the snow
Saw the star oe’r stable low
Mary she might not further go
Welcome thatch and litter below
Joy was hers in the morning!

And they heard the angels tell
Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell
In the stable where they did dwell
Joy shall be theirs in the morning!

Until today I've been a bit bah humbug! about Christmas. But it's the first of December, so I'm ready to get into the festive mood! It may be officially winter now according to our gardening calendar, but I don't mind. NAH's brought the decorations and lights down from the loft and I'll be spending an indulgent time putting them up. This has been 'my job' since childhood and NAH has been happy for me to continue with it ever since we got married.

It's our choir's rehearsal night tonight and I believe it'll be the first week when we'll try and sing all the carols and songs on our concert programme for this year. Of course being a gardening blog, I should have put up The Holly and the Ivy for Garden Bloggers' Muse Day, but I figured most of you will know that one anyway, so I make no apologies for sharing my favourite carol from our current repertoire instead. It's a poem from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

* = blessing (not venison, which as a subversive soprano I'm tempted to sing from time to time)

PS I'm listening (and singing along) to our choir's practice CD - there's some tricky bits I need to get right before tonight's rehearsal ;)

18 comments:

  1. Hi VP, a nice gentle way to ease into the season. I am still not ready yet to accept it, trying to deny winter's coming, but they are calling for snow here today! That might do it.
    Frances

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  2. How cheery VP. I am glad that you gave us the definition of bennison - saved me getting the dictionary out. The first day of December sees me start getting into festive mood too. Enjoy singing your heart out tonight.

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  3. VP,

    I am not yet ready for the season...weather or holiday!
    Maybe when I get the decorations out and put on some music it will help! I didn't know that robins sang at night~~ and now the poem (I posted) makes even more sense!T hank you Vp for educating me!

    Gail

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  4. Liking the lyrics as there are several mentions of Bliss, always a good thing. ;-) Not in the Christmas mood yet as we still having St Nicolas Day to celebrate over here on the 5 December.

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  5. I couldn't count the number of times I've read The Wind in the Willows. This is a wonderful poem! Happy December!

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  6. A nice poem to get us all in the mood and remember what Christmas is all about. Stay warm. No Bah Humbug!

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  7. As it is now December I think Christmas can be mentioned occasionally. I must check my Christmas lights :-)

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  8. VP, a great choice for getting us into the holiday season mood today. A poem I've never read before, but it's been a long time since I've read The Wind in the Willows.
    It takes me awhile to get into the Christmas spirit, too. But I did put up some outdoor lights--thankfully, before the snow--and one Christmas tree. I'm off to sunny Arizona on Wednesday, so nothing else will get done for a week. Have fun decorating!

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  9. I'd love to hear the tune you're singing it to - this is a song that caused much childhood trauma when an arrangement created by an overambitious choir master for our choir of 9 year-olds caused us to make fools of ourselves at a regional competition and I've never dared sing in public since!!!
    ...I've never heard the real tune!

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  10. I've never heard this carol, although "Wind in the Willows" is one of my favorite books from childhood. Do you like "Gaudete"? That's one of my newer favorites. Happy December!

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  11. Our outside lights went up yesterday (although we haven't lit them yet - maybe tonight) and I've fashioned a garland out of cedar-sprigs which is adorning our front porch. You have to get the outside decorations up early here, or the weather will make it a miserable job! Won't get the tree or do much inside for a week or two yet, though.

    Hope the rehearsal went well!

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  12. Mr McGregors Daughter - Gaudete is one of my favorites! VP - I thought I knew Wind in the Willows of by heart but I missed the carol - where on earht have I been. And yes, what tune do you use, I am intrigued.
    I have no light out yet but the advent ring was shining its light yesterday, Christmas trees be be organised on Wednesday, my birthday next week - all seems right with the world.
    Lol x

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  13. Obviously I'm tired - I've just checked out my typing and it's rubbish! Luckily I seem to be able to manage the word verification. As it said on my school reports - could do better.

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  14. Thanks, VP, for that lovely post and carol. Singing christmas carols is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Happy December.

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  15. That was a wonderful poem (aren't lyrics often poetry?). Happy December... I don't want to wish time to fly faster than it already seems to! :-)

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  16. Does anyone sing the alternative words?

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  17. Hi everyone - thanks for your comments and good wishes :)

    Frances - we've had snow up north today, so I'd say the season's definitely here!

    Anna - we had a great time. And I had to include the meaning of benison as it was the first question we asked!

    Gail - a lot of robins sing at night here. They think it's because of the street lights.

    Yolanda - I always think of you when we sing Bliss!

    Nancy - Thank you! The poem's from chapter 5. Mole and ratty are visited by field mice wrapped in red mufflers and with bright little eyes, who then sing the carol :)

    Tina - definitely no Bah Humbug around here now!

    EG - yes, let's let the season in. Must check mine too...

    Rose - have a lovely time in Arizona!

    RPF - it's a different tune to yours and I have it on CD from last year's concert! It was written by Ali, a friend of our choirmaster who lives in Galloway.

    MMD - I love Gaudete! Me + 4 or 5 of us will be singing verse 5 during the concert (the choir will be about 100 people, so it's almost a solo!)

    Amanda - it was a great rehearsal. We've even added choreography to our choir's own song (California Dreamin') - it's a first for our performances! I tend to mix and match my indoor/outdoor decorating depending on what comes out of the box. But then we don't get the mega cold like you do in Canada!

    IE - oooooh happy birthday for next week!

    Carolyn - yes I'm in the mood now for sure!

    Shady Gardener - I'm just savouring every moment now in a vain effort to make it pass a little more slowly!

    Jan - thank you!

    SOL - I'm assuming you mean While Shepherds Watched? I did for the first rehearsal but got a Paddington Hard Stare from the choir master. However, there is something unusual about our 'official' version of it, which I'll tell you about after the concert on the 16th December.

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