In The Bleak Midwinter

Dark academians who honor their forebears by donning tweed and flannel and digging through libraries and old bookstores throughout the bleak midwinter may have come across the following line:

Only when viewed as an aesthetic phenomenon are the sufferings and miseries of life eternally justified.

(By the way, that’s how to use the term “aesthetic”when it’s actually called for, rather than with wanton promiscuity.)

It may be a bleak winter of our discontent here in 2020, but there is always beauty to be found if you will but open your eyes. For example, here are some more quotes you might find in an old library:

The world takes its shape chiefly as a man looks at it.

Opinion is everything.

When I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.

So here’s some Gothic musical beauty for your run-up to Christmas 2020: a choral version of “In The Bleak Midwinter,” plus solo renditions by Benjamin Luxon and Kiri Te Kanawa. The poem from which the lyrics are taken, by Christina Rossetti, follows. After this, you can dig through the library and find her “Goblin Market” to read by candlelight. — CC

In The Bleak Midwinter
By Christina Rossetti
1872
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

9 Comments on "In The Bleak Midwinter"

  1. The Bleak Midwinter by Rossetti is most appropriate for the time and place.

  2. definitely the most goth Christmas carol

  3. My second favorite. I especially love the King’s Choir version above. Just perfect.

  4. Some mulled cider with my slippers tonight I believe
    lads

  5. And fresh authentic, homemade Dresdner Stollen, courtesy of my wife.

    Seasons Greetings,

    Heinz-Ulrich

  6. My favorite Christmas carol. Thank you. The Pre-Raphaelites rocked.

  7. Oh good to see these hallowed halls bedecked with such a spirit again! Tremendous admonition CC!

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