A Victorian Christmas

by GreenMatthews



released November 22, 2011

Chris Green - voice, mandocello, guitar, accordion

Sophie Matthews - voice, flute

with special guest:

Jude Rees - voice, oboe


all rights reserved



GreenMatthews Coventry, UK

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews play English traditional songs and tunes in a thoroughly 21st-century kick-ass style. Using a blend of ancient instruments such as cittern, English bagpipes and shawm as well as modern folk instruments such as guitar, flute and piano accordion, they breathe new life into material from hundreds of years ago, making it fresh and relevant for a modern audience. ... more

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Track Name: A Christmas Carol
Let an anthem of praise and a carol of joy
Each tongue and each heart in sweet concert employ
This day sprung at Bethlehem a plant of renown
And Christ to redeem us abandoned a crown.

Conceived of a virgin how humble his birth
Not graced with the pomp nor the grandeur of earth
But laid in a manger with beasts at an inn
No room for the saviour of Israel within.

The shepherds with pleasure saluted the morn
When Jesus the Shepherd of Judah was born
The sages with wonder acknowledged his star
And brought him their homage and gifts from afar.

Great Saviour the tribute of honour we pay
And celebrate gladly thy festival day
We triumph in Britain thy glory to see
Not sages nor shepherds more happy than we.
Track Name: The Minstrels
THE Minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand;

And who but listened?--till was paid
Respect to every Inmate's claim:
The greeting given, the music played,
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And "merry Christmas" wished to all!
Track Name: The Sussex Carol
On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring.
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.

Then why should men on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad,
When from our sin he set us free,
All for to gain our liberty?

When sin departs before His grace,
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the new-born King.

All out of darkness we have light,
Which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and for evermore, Amen!"
Track Name: Time to Remember the Poor
Now the winter is come with its cold chilling breath
And the leaves do fall from the trees
All nature is touched with the finger of death
And the streams do begin for to freeze
When the wanton young boys on the water will slide
And the frost overcovers the moor
When with health rich enjoy everything that is good
That's the time to remember the poor.

When the poor harmless hare to the woods may be traced
By the print he has left in the snow
When our lips and our toes are turned blue with the frost
And the sportsmen a shooting do go
When a poor Robin Redbreast approaches our cot
And icicles hang o'er the door
When the bright twinkling stars proclaim the cold night
That’s the time to remember the poor.

O the time will draw nigh when the seasons on Earth
All the world will agree with one voice
All nations unite to salute the blessed morn
And the ends of the Earth will rejoice
When death is deprived of his cold chilly sting
And the grave is a terror no more
When angels and men alleluja shall sing
Then the rich will lie down with the poor.
Track Name: Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing
Track Name: Young Scrooge
The Spirit touched Scrooge on the arm, and pointed to his younger self, intent upon his reading. Suddenly a man, in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window, with an ax stuck in his belt, and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood.

"Why, it's Ali Baba!" Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. "It's dear old honest Ali Baba. Yes, yes, I know. One Christmas time, when yonder solitary child was left here all alone, he did come, for the first time, just like that."

Then, with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character, he said, in pity for his former self, "Poor boy!" and cried again.

"I wish," Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: "but it's too late now."

"What is the matter?" asked the Spirit.

"Nothing," said Scrooge. "Nothing. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that's all."
Track Name: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Track Name: The Holly and the Ivy
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing all in the choir.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
The holly bears a blossom,
As white as the lily flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
To be our sweet Saviour.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing all in the choir.

The holly bears a berry,
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to do us sinners good.
The holly bears a prickle,
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing all in the choir.

The holly bears a bark,
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
The rising of the sun, etc.
The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing all in the choir.
Track Name: Silent Night
Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht.
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh.
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "
Track Name: Under The Mistletoe
A grand and jolly old custom you will find at Christmas time
In every house you go hangs a bunch of mistletoe
You find in hanging upon the wall and every charming miss
She's always hovering round it for a kiss.
At first you kiss the master then the daughters three or four
And then you kiss the maiden aunt who's never been kissed before

Under the mistletoe, under the mistletoe
Young maids, old maids, dearly love to go
Oh did you ever, ever hear a girl say no
When you whisper come and kiss me
Under the mistletoe

The sweet and spoony young couple, well, they all enloy the fun
They wander to and fro underneath the mistletoe
And when the couple are man and wife the following Christmastide
Before them all he'll boldly kiss the bride
Another Christmas day comes round and then the happy pair
They're at the same old game but now they're kissing a son and heir

Now there's the grumpy old batch'lor who's in diggings all alone
The servant gives a grin as she brings the Turkey in
A feeling then overcomes him he has seldom felt before
He sees the mistletoe up above the door.
He gives the girl a Christmas box then steals a kiss with glee.
It's only once a year of course, he likes it and so does she.

The sweet kiss under the mistletoe will always be the thing
It gives the modest miss excuses for a kiss
You kiss her under the parlour stairs her dignity she'll show
She likes it underneath the mistletoe.
A bunch of mistletoe's the thing to give you perfect bliss.
I always carry some myself. Would anyone like a kiss?
Track Name: The Oxen
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Track Name: Gower Wassail
A-wassail, a-wassail throughout all the town
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown
Our wassail is made of the good ale and true
Some nutmeg and ginger, the best we could brew

Fol the dol, fol the dol, fol the dol
Fol the di-do
Drink and be merry - it's a jolly wassail

Our wassail is made of the elderberry bough
And so my good neighbors we'll drink unto thou
Besides all on earth, you have apples in store
Let us come in for it's cold by the door

We hope that your apple trees prosper and bear
That we may have cider when we come next year
And where you have one barrel we hope you'll have ten
That we may have cider when we come again

There's a master and a mistress sat down by the fire
While we poor wassail boys stand here in the mire
Come you pretty fair maid with your silver-headed pin
Open the door - won't you let us come in?

It's we poor wassail boys so weary and cold
Please drop some silver into our old bowl
And if we survive for another new year
Perhaps we may call and see who does live here

We know by the moon that we are not too soon
We know by the sky that we are not too high
We know by the star that we are not too far
We know by the ground that we are within sound

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