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What Child Is This

Coleman Hawkins

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Words written in 1865 to an old folk song


Coleman Hawkins covered this beautiful Christmas carol which was made popular when William Dix created new lyrics for the old English folk song "Greensleeves" in 1865. (Published in 1871.)

While Dix was enduring a serious illness, and coming close to death, he had a spiritual awakening that inspired him to write a hymn about Jesus and the nativity. He put his new words to "Greensleeves" and thus one of the most popular Christmas carols was born.


What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkeys are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the Son of Mary.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

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