Saturday, December 25, 2010

Nine Lessons and Carols, Part VI: The Fifth Reading

The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.

LUKE 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed
to a man whose name was Joseph,
of the house of David.
And the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And he came to her and said,
“Greetings, O favored one,
the Lord is with you!”

29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying,
and tried to discern what sort of greeting
this might be.

30 And the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

31 And behold, you will conceive
in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall call his name Jesus.

32 He will be great
and will be called the Son
of the Most High.
And the Lord God will give to him
the throne of his father David,

33 and he will reign
over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel,
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High
will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born
will be called holy—the Son of God.

36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth
in her old age has also conceived a son,
and this is the sixth month with her
who was called barren.

37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 And Mary said,
“Behold, I am the servant
of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.”

And the angel departed from her.



Basque Carol, "Gabriel's Message"

The angel Gabriel from Heaven came,
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
"All hail," said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

"For know a blessèd mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name."
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say—
"Most highly favored lady," Gloria!


Britten, "Ceremony of Carols"


I sing of a maiden that is makèles [matchless]:
King of all kings to her son she ches [chose]

He came also stille there his moder [mother] was,
As dew in Aprille [April] that falleth on the grass.

He came also stille to his moder's bour [bower],
As dew in Aprille that falleth on the flour.

He came also stille there his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille that falleth on the spray.

Moder and mayden was never none but she:
Well may such a lady Goddes moder be.


This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
the gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
And feeble Flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib His trench, haystalks His stakes;
Of shepherds He his muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that he hath pight [pitched].
Within His crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

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