“This Little Babe” is one of the carols from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. It describes in archaic text the always relevant truth of Who Jesus is and why He was born. As the song progresses the truth remains constant as the music becomes almost cacophonous, much like the loud and confusing world in which we live. Then the last stanza affirms strongly where our only hope lies – in This Little Babe.
I added lyrics to a wonderful presentation of Britten’s “This Little Babe” as sung by the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir under the direction of ChoirmasterJiří Chvála, and accompanied on harp by Kateřina Englichová. Click HERE or on the photo below to view them as they sing this carol.
To view their original production video go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqtZxknVrqk . To purchase their album of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols follow the link on their Youtube page.
“This Little Babe”
From A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten
This little babe just three days old,
Is come to rival Satan’s hold
All hell doth at his presence quake,
though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmored wise
the gates of hell he will surprise.
With tears he fights and wins the field,
his naked breast stands for a shield.
His battering shot are babish cries,
his arrows looks of weeping eyes.
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
and feeble flesh his warrior’s steed.
His camp is pitched in a stall,
his bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes,
of shepherds he his muster makes.
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
the angels’ trumps alarum sound
My soul with Christ join thou in fight;
stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest ward;
this little Babe will by thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, then
flit not from this heavenly boy!