Saturday, December 27, 2014

On the Third Day of Christmas....

... We celebrate the feast day of the youngest of the Apostles: St John the Evangelist; our Lord's dearest friend; the writer of the Fourth Gospel; the Eagle of Patmos. If it is difficult to find carols in honour of St. Stephen, it is harder still to find one for St. John the Evangelist.  They exist. There is a whole page of them listed on Hymns and Carols of Christmas. Perhaps ambitious souls have even recorded some of them, at some point....somewhere... but I have found no evidence of it. So you are getting the lyrics to one of the very old carols instead - a macaronic  carol, in Middle English and Latin, which is quite charming:

To almyghty God pray for pees,
    Amice Christi Johannes.

O glorius Johan evangelyste,
Best belovyd with Jhesu Cryst,
In cena Domini upon hys bryst
            Ejus vidisti archana.

Chosen thou art to Cryst Jhesu,
Thy mynd was never cast frome vertu;
Thi doctryne of God thou dydest renu,
            Per ejus vestigia.

Cryst ont he rod, in hys swet passyon,
Toke the hys moder as to hyr sone;
For owr synnes gett grace and pardon,
            Per tua sancta merita.

O most nobble of evangelystes all,
Grace to owr maker for us thou call,
And off swetenesse celestyall
            Prebe nobis pocula.

And aftur the cowrs of mortalite,
In heven with aungels for to be,
Sayyng Ozanna to the Trinyte
            Per seculorum secula.

Whilst I was trawling about, attempting to find something besides Liturgical Propers to commemorate good St. John, I ended up listening to rather a lot of Medieval and Early Renaissance Christmas songs, and came across this lovely version of a very old carol called Lullay My Liking. I've heard it sung beautifully by a choir before - but admire this version much more:

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