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December 3

"What Child Is This" is set to the 16th century English melody Greensleeves. This tune appears in broadsides as early as 1580, and there are some rumors that it was composed by Henry VIII, though this is unlikely. The text is a poem written by William Dix in 1865 that was later set to the tune.

This piece was performed by Mark Gerchman, Greg's father-in-law. He is a self-taught mandolin player who took up the instrument after being inspired by last year's Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings. He is honored to be part of Hark! this year.

Downloads: mp3

What Child Is This

Performed by Mark Gerchman on mandolin

Words: William Chatterton Dix, c. 1871.
Music: GREENSLEEVES, English ballad, 16th century.

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!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.


So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, one and all, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone him.


Sources and more information