Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Manger Throne/What Child Is This? (William Chatterton Dix)

"What Child Is This" was originally a poem by William Chatterton Dix entitled "The Manger Throne".    The words were paired with "Greensleeves". a very old English tune from the 15th century.

1. What child is this who, laid to rest,
on Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste, haste to bring him laud,
the babe, the son of Mary.

2. Why lies he in such mean estate
where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
the silent Word is pleading.

3. So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
come, peasant, king, to own him;
the King of kings salvation brings,
let loving hearts enthrone him.

Born in Bristol, England, William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)  was the manager of a marine insurance company in Glasgow, Scotland but I wonder if he really considered that his life's work was in writing his beautiful words of poetry for worship.  He wrote more than forty hymns, among them "Alleluia, Sing To Jesus". He died in 1898 and is buried at his parish church in Cheddar in Somerset, England.  If only I could write hymns like this hymn writer!  They say simply and to the point exactly what the hymn writer is trying to convey but in such wondrous words! "The babe, the son of Mary"..."  "Not as orphans are we left in sorrow"...  "Shall our hearts forget his promise".  "Intercessor, friend of sinners, plead for me".

 I found this hymn on YouTube.  Turn it up and let the words and music wash over you and fill your spirit!  You can sing along if you like. 


Alleluia! sing to Jesus!

Alleluia! sing to Jesus!
His the scepter, his the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph,
his the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus out of every nation
hath redeemed us by his blood.

Alleluia! not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us,
faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him
when the forty days were o'er
shall our hearts forget his promise,
'I am with you evermore'?

Alleluia! bread of heaven,
here on earth our food and stay!
Alleluia! here the sinful
flee to thee from day to day.
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
earth's Redeemer, plead for me.
Where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia! King eternal,
thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary,
earth thy footstool,
heaven thy throne.
Thou within the veil hast entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest.
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim
in the Eucharistic Feast.

 I am feeling better now...I am ready for Christmas and New Year's...What? I missed it!?  Oh well! :-)


  1. I so love that carol and the one on the video. At our church we have different words to that hymn. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of the name of it. My mother is a musician and has written many poems and hymns ( some which we have sung a church). I need to get some of them and share on my site. JUST remembered! Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus! Whew, now I can sleep tonight.

    1. There are several hymns that use the same tune and I love ALL of them!
      So happy that you remembered the song, we sing that one too!
      Your mother has written hymns? That would be my life's dream to hear a song of mine in church! :-)

  2. I do love both of those songs. So glad you are finally feeling better!

    1. Thanks! And I am glad you love these songs too!

  3. I love music, having studied the violin for many years in Hawaii and New York City. I am glad you are well, now.

    1. The violin, how beautiful! Thanks for your well wishes. Now, I am so behind in everything, I will never get caught up!!

  4. Carry Christmas, and these thoughts from this song, in your heart all the year. Then you are celebrating them truly and fully. Hugs.

    1. Amen! (And I still have my little Christmas tree decorated. Shhh, don't tell anyone, it will be a scandal!)

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  6. The first is a lovely song. The second is very familiar to me, as we used to sing it at school. How nice to hear it again!

    1. Hey Jenny Woolf! You KNOW I thought of you when I did this post! Those Victorians, eh? WOW, so much accomplished. I wish someone would write a book about them! Wink, wink! Any idea of when your book will come out?

  7. We used to sing that second hymn in church often, but I haven't heard it in many years now. I've always loved "What child is this?".

    1. Very happy that you liked these songs on my post! Wouldn't you love to have been the one to write the words to "What Child Is This?"?
      (Looks funny to have those two question marks, but I suppose that's right!)
      Hope you are doing well these days!

  8. So beautiful and it's always Christmas if we want it to be! We sing a hymn in our church to that tune but I love the words in this one. I'm glad you're feeling better. I had the creeping crud myself, but finally feel free of it! Have a good weekend and maybe you should open a few presents!

    1. Richard and I visited with some friends yesterday and we did just that, opened some Christmas presents!! Of course, the best present was being with our friends!
      Glad you liked the songs too! Take care, that creeping crud can creep right back!

  9. Good morning Kay. Thanks for sharing this. I have always liked this carol and I can appreciate your joy and enthusiasm.

    1. Hi Jim!
      I am happy someone appreciates my joy and enthusiasm! So few understand me... hope you have a great week ahead.

  10. That was an interesting history of a beautiful Christmas song. Thanks for sharing it. I sing and love these songs, but don't really know what they are about.

    1. I dearly love to find out the history of the hymns that we sing. And to be a hymnwriter and to write words that people could sing for generations! That would be just the greatest thing to me!
      Thanks very much for your comment.

  11. I don't know 'What child is this' though Greensleeves and 'Alleluia...' (or the tune at least) are very familiar. Glad you like our Songs of Praise! x

    1. Oh! You have never heard "What Child Is This"? The words fit "Greensleeves" perfectly! I remember someone who criticized a hymnwriter for putting his words to popular music, and his reply was "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?" I love that!
      Oh, I LOVE Songs of Praise. Are you kidding me? When I lived in England, I never missed it! xx

  12. Happy New Year, Kay! " What Child is This?" is one of my most favorite Christmas carols! Sshhh! My Christmas tree is still up too! Terry suggested I start taking it down today ~ yeah, right! He's going to be watching football all day! He keeps turning off the tree lights and closing the blinds so the neighbors won't see it! Oh the scandal! I'm definitely going to be watching the Broncos/Chargers game! I hope that you, Richard, and Christopher had a lovely holiday season! Sorry to read that you had the crud! I hope you are feeling much better. Stay warm! Be :)

    1. We only had the one day together, Christmas Day, but it was nice to be together.
      Oh, great minds think alike! So funny you still have your tree up too! Hey, I hope your Broncos win!
      Yes, it was a drag to get sick, but it could have been worse! Still have a cough, I sound like someone who smokes about a pack a day! HA! Oh, don't make me laugh, it turns into a cough!! :-)
      Happy New Year to you too, Louise, hope it's a very good one! xx