This 16th Century carol from the Coventry play: "The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors" is a mother's lament for the many young children of Israel whose death was ordered by King Herod The Great after the birth of Jesus. The King James version of the Gospel of Mathew describes the circumstances of Herod's massacre thus:
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. ... And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. ... When (the wise men) saw the young child with Mary his mother, they fell down, and worshipped him. ... And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. ... Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under."
The killing of innocent children to preserve political power and wealth has very sadly become common practice in the 21st Century. Every day children are made victims of terrorist attacks, military operations, gang violence, government-sponsored viciousness, etc. Millions of innocent families today now live as refugees, forced to flee their homes and native lands to escape massacre or cruelly enforced captivity. Mothers' laments have become commonplace.
The author of the Coventry Carol and The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors is unknown. The first known written version of the text dates from 1534. The first known written version of the melody for the carol dates from 1591. An edited version of the play and carol, published in the early 20th Century, can be found online at the address below: openlibrary.org/books/OL19296955M/Two_Coventry_Corpus_Christi_plays
This recorded interpretation of the Coventry Carol was produced, performed, and sculpted together by Charles Rice Goff III. Goff employed the following battery of instruments in his composition:
Voice Midisoft Music Mentor MIDI Composing Tool Reflector Stratocaster Electronic Guitar Korg R3 Vocoder/Synthesizer Bass Wooden Flute Tin Whistle Yamaha FX 500 Effects Unit Edited Smidgeon Of "Rosemary’s Lullaby" (written by Krzysztof Komeda, sung by Mia Farrow, from soundtrack to 1968 movie: "Rosemary's Baby," no rights claimed)
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