Listen at Christmas: Laurence Housman and Chanticleer


Despite the traditional arrangement of the figures in a nativity scene, we know from the scriptural account that the visit of kings to see young Jesus did not take place at the same time as the visit of the shepherds. After hearing the news from choirs of angels, the shepherds made their pilgrimage quickly, but the kings had a longer journey to make. It seems appropriate, then, to feature a song about those kings in an after-Christmas music post.

The text comes from a poem by Laurence Housman, performed by Chanticleer. I found the voices lovely, but not  unfailingly intelligible, so I benefited from reading the original poem to get the full impact.



“Who knocks tonight so late?”
the weary porter said.
Three kings stood at the gate,
each with a crown on head.

The serving man bowed down,
the Inn was full, he knew.
Said he, “In all this town
is no fit place for you.”

A light in the manger lit;
there lay the Mother meek.
This place is fit.
Here is the rest we seek.

Come, come. They loosed their latchet strings,
so stood they all unshod.
“Come in, come in, ye kings,
and kiss the feet of God.”



[Image: Albrecht Dürer]



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