What song is this, that dreary song, a-whining and a-bleating?


OK, I admit it: there is a "Christmas carol" which I really, really don't like. I simply find "What child is this?" rather depressing. I think it's not the tune's association with Henry VIII (that robber and killer); it's the whiny "Greensleeves" tune itself.

The carol would have been more upbeat if the pop-band "Chicago" had sung it:

"Does anybody really know what Child this is?
Does anybody really care about this Child?
If so, I can't imagine who;
but He was born for me and you."

Verse 1:
"As I was walking through the town one day,
a man and woman came to me
and asked: is there an inn where we can stay

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And why do Christmas carols have to be upbeat ? The less-than-chipper melody goes with the lyrics, particularly the end of, and refrain of, the second verse....

"Nails, spear, shall pierce Him through/
The Cross be borne, for me, for you/
Hail, Hail the Word made Flesh !/
The Babe, the Son of Mary !"
Unfortunately, these words tend to get skipped in some places...mustn't upset anybody with the reason that Baby came....

BTW, there's no proof of the rumor that Henry VIII wrote "Greensleeves", and most music scholars of the period find it highly unlikely, especially because there is no recorded mention of "Greensleeves" before 1580, and Henry died in 1547.

Thanks for the info about the tune's history. At least there's one less thing with which to reproach Henry. :-) For those interested, there's an article at Wikipedia.

I don't have an objection to mournful hymn tunes in general: e.g., the tune Herzliebster Jesu is a favorite.

Hey, I think you did a great job with the carol. I've never cared for that tune, myself.

While I have to disagree about the tune "Greensleeves". I like it a lot. However 1 of my pet peeves is that we don't sing it right. We leave out the 2nd half of the 2nd verse as Donna pointed out. I wish we wouldn't.

& we totally ignore another Christmas tune, "I Wonder As I Wander". where it talks about "How Jesus the Savior was born for to die", etc.

That said, as a Chicago fan, I love the idea of rewriting the lyrics to fit their song.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on January 6, 2008 10:51 PM.

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