Monday, December 2, 2013

The beautiful English carol 'Tomorrow shall be my dancing day'

We attended an Advent concert yesterday, which was very nice--always a special way to usher in the Advent season. The choir sang this traditional English carol, which made such an impression on me that I wanted to share it with you. Beautiful to listen to. Ingegjerd Bagøien Moe was the soloist, and Uno Alexander Vesje the harpist who accompanied her; they were wonderful, as was the rest of the Tryllefløytene choir.

I went on YouTube to see if I could find the song, and happened upon a number of different renditions of it. This rendition particularly touched me, since it's a children's choir that performs it. I'm including the lyrics as well. The choir does not sing all of the verses; none of the different renditions seem to. Enjoy!


Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

Then afterwards baptized I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

Into the desert I was led,
Where I fasted without substance;
The Devil bade me make stones my bread,
To have me break my true love's dance. Chorus

The Jews on me they made great suit,
And with me made great variance,
Because they loved darkness rather than light,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

For thirty pence Judas me sold,
His covetousness for to advance:
Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold!
The same is he shall lead the dance. Chorus

Before Pilate the Jews me brought,
Where Barabbas had deliverance;
They scourged me and set me at nought,
Judged me to die to lead the dance. Chorus

Then on the cross hanged I was,
Where a spear my heart did glance;
There issued forth both water and blood,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

Then down to hell I took my way
For my true love's deliverance,
And rose again on the third day,
Up to my true love and the dance. Chorus

Then up to heaven I did ascend,
Where now I dwell in sure substance
On the right hand of God, that man
May come unto the general dance. Chorus

(written for St. Paul's by the English composer John Gardner)

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