• Thea Musgrave
  • A Song for Christmas (1958)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by BBC Scotland

  • High voice/pf
  • 5 min
  • attributed to William Dunbar

Programme Note


1. Jerusalem, rejoice for joy:
Jesus, the star of greatest beauty
Is risen in thee as righteous king
From darkness to illumine thee.
With glorious sound of angels' glee [rejoicing, or possibly music]
Thy prince is born in Bethlehem
Who shall make thee from slavery free.
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

2. With the light of angels' legions
Thou art illumined all about;
Three kings from far regions
Have come to thee in a lusty rout; [splendid company]
All adorned with diamonds, without a doubt,
And trimmed with gold on every hem,
Crying together with one shout,
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

3. The raging tyrant who reigned over thee
Herod, is exiled with his offspring;
He possessed the land of Judah unjustly,
And risen is now thy rightful king.
Because he is so mighty and worthy,
When his glorious name is spoken
Heaven, earth and hell bow;
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

4. All elements knew his coming:
The air perceived him by a star;
The water when he walked dry-shod upon it;
The earth which trembled and was split open;
The sun when it gave no light;
The cross when it was treated with contempt;
The stones when they were reft in pieces;
Illuminare, Jerusalem.

5. The dead knew him, who were raised upright,
Who for a long time had lain under the earth;
The crippled and blind declared the might
Of him who healed so many hundreds of them.
Nature knew him, and greatly marvelled
When he was born of a virgin without blemish;
Hell [knew him] when their gates were broken asunder.
Illuminare, Jerusalem.