Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dear Tolkien

From Middle Earth News

I just had to get that out there first. Today is Tolkien's Birthday Tolkien was born during Christmastide - seems rather fitting, doesn't it? And since we are in the middle of a series of Christmas posts, I am going to take a moment to put in a plug for Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters. It is such a entertaining and delightful book, full of the Professor's humour, and calligraphy and illustrations. Just look at how much fun it is:

If you want to see a few more picture, go to The Tolkien Bookshelf. (And you really should click there.)

So, since it is Tolkien's birthday, and since Tolkien was a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, I am posting a Middle English carol called Adam Lay Ybounden. This version retains the original pronunciations, and has a very wandering-minstrel feel about it:

Here are the lyrics, for to better understand what they are singing:

Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond,
Four thousand winter thoughte he not too long;
And al was for an apple, and apple that he took,
As clerkes finden writen, writen in thire book.
Ne hadde the apple taken been, the apple taken been,
Ne hadde nevere Oure Lady ybeen hevene Queen.
Blessed be the time that apple taken was:
Therfore we mown singen Deo Gratias.

And for a bit more information on the tune itself, wikipedia's entry is actually quite good.

1 comment:

Molly said...

This was the first I'd heard that tune for those words. I like it a *lot* better than the one you generally hear a choir sing; it's still one of my favourite Christmas carols either way, but the standard choral version strikes me as a little bland. This one, even if you chose to slow it down and make it stately, would still be an interesting tune.

And way to tie it all together when you're doing the 12 Days, and Tolkien's birthday!