Advent Carol for December 15: Up! Good Christen Folk

Is it bad that everything about this carol makes me laugh? From the exclamation mark in its title through the endlessly silly “Ding dong ding” refrain (and the way at slows at the end, presumably to give more import to the dinga-donga-dings) to the charming “will this do?”-ness of the lyric

In a stable

(‘Tis no fable)

And all of that is before you notice that it careens into Latin in the final verse for no discernible reason except possibly because it fits the tune better. This estimable series of decisions was made by George Ratcliffe Woodward, a(nother) nineteenth-century Anglican priest who set his lyrics to a tune from the Piae Cantiones, composed in 1582 by a Finnish Catholic and published the same year by a Swedish Lutheran, making this quite possibly the most ecumenical of our carols so far. It’s still silly, though.

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