Warning – readers may find some scenes disturbing.
Some more melancholia today as we have a traditional carol that is far from the cosy nativity scene; do you know what it is really about?
The Coventry Carol is a 16th Century Christmas carol, performed as part of a Mystery Play depicting the birth of Jesus. The carol refers to the story of the ‘Slaughter of the Innocents’ in which King Herod ordered the mass murder of any child up to the age of two, after hearing of Jesus Christ’s birth. The song is a lullaby the women sing to their fallen children.
The Slaughter of the Innocents is rarely dwelt upon, certainly not in school nativity plays, but it is a tale that that would horrify any mother. I always feel the bible stories are lacking in back story and character development. As Mary and Joseph fled ( eventually ) into Egypt did they know what awful events they had unwittingly unleashed? A modern day reporter on the scene would have undoubtedly asked her ‘How did you feel, Mary?’
Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.
Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting nor say nor sing,
By-bye lully, lullay.
Here are two very different versions, the traditional tune and a different tune so we can include an angelic choir boy.
In the meantime, Elf has received his first Christmas card and is promising a lighter note when you open tomorrow’s window.