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A Short Analysis of the Christmas Carol ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’

‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ is one of the most famous Christmas songs in the English language, and unlike many Christmas carols we know who wrote this one: a Poet Laureate, no less. So next time you’re singing ‘while shepherds watched their flocks by night’ (or, depending on company, washed their socks by night), you can bask in the knowledge that you’re taking in a bit of literature.

But what were the origins of this favourite Christmas carol? ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ deserves closer analysis…

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

‘Fear not!’ said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind;
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Robert Burns’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’

‘Auld Lang Syne’ – which loosely translates into modern English as ‘old long since’ – is one of Robert Burns’s most famous poems, which is remarkable since Robert Burns almost certainly didn’t write it. What are the origins of this, one of the most famous songs in the world? In this post, we’re going in search of the meaning of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, as well as offering some words of analysis of its lyrics.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus. For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Thomas Dekker’s ‘Golden Slumbers’

Memorably used by The Beatles as the lyrics for their song of the same name on the Abbey Road LP, ‘Golden Slumbers’ is a lullaby from Thomas Dekker’s 1603 play Patient Grissel, written with Henry Chettle and William Haughton. This is one of the most soothing short Renaissance poems – and perhaps the best-known Renaissance lullaby, or ‘cradle song’, out there.

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you,
You are care, and care must keep you;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby. Read the rest of this entry