What connects the popular Christmas carol ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and the popular hymn ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’? They both share an origin – but the origins of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ are not as famous as the words. And the words themselves deserve closer analysis…
Once in Royal David’s City
Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child. Read the rest of this entry
What are the origins of Little Boy Blue?
‘Little Boy Blue’ is a popular children’s rhyme, but as is the case with so many nursery rhymes (as we’ve been discovering in the course of researching these posts), the meaning of ‘Little Boy Blue’ is far from apparent. What does this curious little nursery rhyme mean, or is it an example of that genre of perennial appeal, nonsense verse?
Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn.
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
Fast asleep. Read the rest of this entry
‘’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’: as opening lines go, they must be up there in the top five most famous opening lines from an American poem (something from Emily Dickinson would also have to be in there). ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’, to give the poem its proper title, is perhaps the most famous Christmas poem ever written, too, but the poem’s origins and attribution to a man named Clement Clarke Moore are not as straightforward as they may first appear…
A Visit from St Nicholas
’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Read the rest of this entry