Each year during Advent and Christmas I enjoy many of the same carols I sang when I was growing up. But I also love learning new ones, which are mostly really old! I have a lovely Christmas songbook given to me by my son, Ben. In it I find the traditional favorites as well as many that have become well loved if not as familiar. The following is one of those. The origins of this old carol apparently lie in the southern part of France. I am strangely attracted to it, and like to think that my French great great grandparents might have taught this to their little girl who later came with them to the United States and was my great grandmother. Although she died when I was a baby, perhaps she even sang it to me and rocked me. I feel it so.
Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.
Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?
“Hastning we seek the newborn King,
And all our sweetest music bring.”
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My children’s great grandmother rocked and sang to them but died before they could remember her. My daughter sings the same lullaby to her baby. I never sang to her so I like to think she remembered her great grandma. Do have a blessed Christmas.
I love this comment Katherine! I do believe there is imprinted cadence and melody from early infancy. I know that both my mother and grandmother rocked me and sang hymns to me because I was told those stories by Mother, and I have the rocker! But beyond that, there is a very physical sensation when I sing those old hymns. I want to move as if rocking and sometimes do. Thank you. It is Christmas Eve and I am counting my blessings.