Folk songs


In a Seemly Throng

Candles (photograph from the Museum's Archives).
Candles (photograph from the Museum's Archives).

In a seemly throng, let's give praise sweetly, and full gloriously,
Singing with our lips, fruits of talent, in full–voiced rhyme:
God has sent the Lamb of his bosom to benefit earth's family,
News is to be proclaimed today of the birth of great Jesus.
"Glory!" was the song from the hosts of fair heaven
Playing the strings of their harps with their talents aflame,
And to worship the Godhead in Manhood is now the aim of their praise,
For the Saviour born unto us to raise us from our misery and sickness.

From the land of Ephrata to Calvary, throughout his life, to the end,
He always had stormy weather during his life from cradle to the Cross;
The hard-hearted Jews were cruel to a degree,
And common throughout the priesthood was enmity seeking his death –
But Jesus toiled unremittingly, just like his father:
Healing the sick, bringing light to the blind, and the lame of the land;
He preached his kingdom in its majesty and with purpose in the world;
Let us praise Jesus for deliverance. He came in time to redeem us.
His pure unblemished life proved to everyone
That he was the Son of God, Heir of Heaven, God of Hosts, and no less;
His works demonstrated his publicly to thousands there and then
When he called on the dead and raised them brightly up.

But Jesus was betrayed, and sold by his servant
For thirty pieces, and no more, as a treasure for the wicked;
And there came an armed crowd with support to him in public,
With Judas the betrayer gleefully revealing where he was.
And then with haste, and in his sweat, he set out,
Full of patience, as a gentle Lamb, meekly for the court;
He was condemned to be crucified and wheeled along his back,
He died willingly when he expired, and he arose, yes, again.
Well, let us during our lives seek the great religion of the Cross,
For him who believes in Jesus there is nothing to pay;
The blood of Jesus erases the entire debt of the Father's family,
Therefore give thanks and praise, the peace is freely ours.


SFNHM Tape 611. Collected 21.6.63 from Watkin Evans (worked for the Liverpool Corporation, b. 1906), 6 Abertridwr, Llanwddyn, Montgomeryshire.


Notes

A Christmas carol which the singer had learnt from his father around the time of the First World War. During recording, Lines 1. 5–8 and 2. 9–12 were omitted by the singer but the three stanzas in full were later obtained amongst the seven published in Telyn Nadolig (A Christmas Harp, 1847) the work of John Williams, Bethel, Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire. The complete carol narrates the story of Christ and its background from the Fall of Man to the Ascension. Craft–wise it exhibits elaborately organised sound–patterns in rhyme and alliteration. (For a general note upon traditional Welsh Christmas carols, see under Song No. 5 above.)

The music is a variant–form of 'The Belle Isle March', a tune formerly much used for singing Welsh 'ballads' and carols. The variant here published is very similar to that given in the carol collection Caniadau Bethlehem (Songs of Bethlehem, ed. J. D. Jones, 1857). Another form can be seen in FWTT, 53. The tune's name might well have something to do with the dramatic story of Belle–Île–en–Mer during the Seven Years' War: that island, strategically located off the west coast of France, was besieged and captured by England during 1761.

Click here to download the music to In a Seemly Throng
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