Carolls to the King

Song Cycle for Soprano voice and Wind Quintet of; 

  • Flute
  • Clarinet in Bb
  • Oboe
  • Horn in F
  • Bassoon

Words by Robert Herrick.

Revised by the composer and beautifully typeset by Betty Roe SAociety member Derek Smith, this work is published by Robish Music and available from in two editions; 

  • Single volume – the instrumental parts and a cued voice part can be extracted from the full score for performance
  • Separate parts – the full score and each instrumental part can also be purchased separately   

This song cycle was composed in 1969 and is a setting of three Robert Herrick poems on a Christmas theme.  The three songs run together as a single work, the first two songs being linked by an instrumental Pastorale

The first two pages can be seen (and heard) as a Sibelius Scorch page.

Due to the thematic links, Pastorale and Bounce for wind quintet would make a good encore to this work.

Tell us, thou cleere and heav’nly tongue, 
Where is the Babe but lately sprung? 
Lies he the lillie-banks among?
Or say, if this new Birth of ours 
Sleeps, laid within some ark of flowers, 
Spangled with deaw-light; thou canst cleere 
All doubts, and manifest the where. 
Declare to us, bright star, if we shall seek 
Him in the morning's blushing cheek, 
Or search the beds of spices through, 
To find him out? 
No, this ye need not do; 
But only come and see Him rest, 
A princely Babe, in's mother's brest. 
He's seen! He's seen! why then around 
Let's kisse the sweet and holy ground; 
And all rejoyce that we have found 
A King, before conception, crown'd. 
Come then, come then, and let us bring 
Unto our prettie twelfth-tide King, 
Each one his severall offering. 
And when night comes wee'l give him wassailing; 
And that his treble honours may be seen, 
Wee'l chuse him King, and make his mother Queen. 
Permit mine eyes to see 
Part, or the whole of Thee, 
O happy place ! 
Where all have Grace, 
And Garlands shar'd, 
For their reward ; 
Where each chast Soule 
In long white stole, 
And Palmes in hand, 
Do ravisht stand ; 
So in a ring, 
The praises sing Of Three in One, 
That fill the Throne ; 
While Harps, and Violls then 
To Voices, say, Amen. 
What sweeter musick can we bring, 
Then a Caroll, for to sing 
The Birth of this our heavenly King? 
Awake the Voice! Awake the String! 
Heart, Eare, and Eye, and every thing 
Awake! the while the active Finger 
Runs division with the Singer. 
From the Flourish they came to the Song. 
Dark and dull night, flie hence away, 
And give the honour to this Day, 
That sees December turn'd to May. 
If we may ask the reason, say; 
The why, and wherefore all things here 
Seem like the Spring-time of the yeere? 
Why do's the chilling Winters morne 
Smile, like a field beset with corne? 
Or smell, like to a Meade new-shorne, 
Thus, on the sudden? 
Come and see 
The cause, why things thus fragrant be : 
'Tis He is borne, whose quickning Birth 
Gives life and luster, publike mirth, 
To Heaven, and the under-Earth. 
We see Him come, and know him ours, 
Who, with His Sun-shine, and His showers, 
Turnes all the patient ground to flowers. 
The Darling of the world is come, 
And fit it is, we finde a roome 
To welcome Him. The nobler part 
Of all the house here, is the heart, 
Which we will give Him ; and bequeath 
This Hollie, and this Ivie Wreath, 
To do Him honour, who's our King, 
And Lord of all this Revelling. 
Robert Herrick (1591 –1674)