The Worcestershire Carol

We tried Alison Burns’ setting for this carol, “O Grand and O Bright” in The Merits of Gold, but felt it was not quite right for our voices. The text and tune came from a Gloucestershire singer, Betty Aldridge, collected by our friend Gwilym Davies whose efforts had previously given us the “Stevens Family Waysail” which we recorded on Just Say Nowell. We used the original text, “How Grand and How Bright” written by William Henry Havergal (1793–1870), to expand the carol. Then, honoring the county of John’s birth, we settled on the title by which the song was commonly known, The Worcestershire Carol

Oh grand and oh bright was that wonderful night
When the angels to Bethlehem came
They burst forth like fire, and struck their gold lyre
And they mingled their songs with the flame.

The shepherds amazed, and the little lambs gazed
As darkness was turned into light
No voice was then heard from man, beast, nor bird
So sudden and solemn the sight.

And then, when the sound re-echoed around
The hills and the dales all awoke
The moon and the stars stopped their fiery cars
And they listened while Gabriel spoke

I bring you, said he, from a glorious dream
A message both gladsome and good
A savior has come to this world unknown
And he lies in a manger of wood

At mention of this, the source of all bliss
The angels sang loudly and long
They soared to the sky, beyond mortal eye
But they left us the words of their song

All Glory to God, who laid down His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son
So peace be on Earth, for this glorious birth
Such wonderful conquests has won

Then good will to man, our life’s but a span
Our souls are so sinful and vile
So pray, all ye, pray but let Christmas Day
Bring a tear as well as a smile

© Golden Hind Music