Seasonal Beauty To Knock Yer Socks Off
~ ITEM: Famous People of Enniscorthy
~ THIS AMAZING VID (via She-Binks, via a friend) set me dreaming even as I heard it for the first time today in this arrangement. Alison Krauss has the voice, and Yo-Yo Ma has the musical scope to do the carol justice.
First thought, here is a taste of the sweetness and power of the Good News, that God’s Son was born for us. The original Irish carol arose in the 1100s in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and is considerd the oldest Christmas carol out of Europe. Thank God for that soul 900 years ago who captured the thought, and set it to gaelic & music.
Second, just how cranky would the 16th & 17th century wrecker-haters be (the Protesters & the later Talibanist Puritanizers) to know this relic of ancient Catholic Christianity survived, and is still touching souls and preaching Christ and reminding us of 2000 years of God’s love across the years? Muwahahahaha! Despite the smashing of glass and marble, the burning of books and roods, the desecration of relics and graves and churches and history, the truth will out, even if by fragile threads and secret ways.. and long memories.
Part of what was smashed in the English ‘Reformation’ was the focus on real communities, feasts and fasts, the local versus the state, and cottage/ monastery industry versus taxation and bigger government. The tremendous creativity and dazzling diversity of what later sneerers called ‘The Middle Ages’ is a living gift to the world, to art, music, architecture, literature, philosophy, science, theology, and– well– everything else besides.
Third, with the lovely pipes in this piece (Gaita Galega, bagpipes from Galicia), I’m reminded that all of us whose blood stirs with the pipes should be thankful to the Romans, who spread them from Italy to wherever the Legions marched. The resulting variety enriches music world-wide, however much the pipe-deaf may whinge about the glorious sound.
In the opening scenes of Gladiator, we see the ranks of the Roman war-machine: deadly spear, shield-wall, sword, archers, ballista, ordered ranks, cavalry– what is missing from Ridley Scott’s vision is the wall of sound that no doubt overwhelmed many enemies– the sounding horns.. and roaring battle-bagpipes.
When the Legions attempted to tame the ancient Picts in Scotland, they built a wall across the land from modern-day Glasgow to modern-day Edinburgh.. the Antonine Wall. From this, a long thrust was made (with forts and supply stations) up the Eastern side of mid-Scotland.
Around AD 117 the IX Hispania Legion vanished into the Caledonian mist, and the retreat to the line of the later Hadrian’s Wall began. You can almost picture some deserting auxiliary or barbarian looter coming across abandoned Roman war-pipes– and the rest is Scottish history, and musical glory.
Finally, And In Conclusion
So enjoy the Wexford Carol– for the beauty, for the talent of the musicians and arrangers, and for those of you who are Christians, as an abiding gift of praise unto the Father, The Son, and The Goly Ghost, three persons and one God, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.
The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall.
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife.
There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.