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09 December 2007

God Keep You Mighty, People!

"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" was written in the 15th century, although it was first published in the 1800's. Its author is unknown, but one guess is that it was written by a monk, as common folk were not well-versed in the Scriptures (Har har! "Versed..." Uh... get it?)

I really enjoyed the very practical explanation that this guy, Kevin Foster, gave, and have borrowed a little of it here. In Ye Olde English, the phrase "God rest ye merry, gentlemen" (with the comma after "merry" rather than "ye") means something more along the lines of, "God keep you mighty, gentlemen," rather than "God give you rest, happy folks," which is what I used to think, never paying too much attention to that pesky comma.

Below are the words to the three most common verses to the song:

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Traditional English Carol

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior 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 bless├Ęd 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.

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 others doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

1 comments:

Tony M said...

Thanks for the explanation... I think I'd thought the same thing as you used to think. A very pertinent Sunday morning post!

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