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Lines for a Christmas Card - (2010)    

Hilaire Belloc

for medium voice and piano


 

May all my enemies go to hell,
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.

Fa-la-la-la-la.

[ 2 pages, circa 55" ]


Hilaire Belloc

 

The full text from which this couplet, sans the last syllables, is so rudely robbed reads as follows:

 

NoŽl! NoŽl! NoŽl! NoŽl!
A Catholic tale have I to tell!
And a Christian song have I to sing
While all the bells in Arundel ring.

I pray good beef and I pray good beer
This holy night of all the year,
But I pay detestable drink for them
That give no honor to Bethlehem.

May all good fellows that here agree
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me
And may all my enemies go to hell!
NoŽl! NoŽl! NoŽl! NoŽl!
May all my enemies go to hell!
NoŽl! NoŽl!

 

It is found in the The Four Men, 1912. I chose a version of it which reads slightly differently, as these last two lines have been excerpted many times before, and sometimes called as I title the song above.

 

 

The syncopation is lively, as a tongue-in-cheek reading of the text. Additional musical and text quotes from traditional carols fill out bridge material in this short, music-hall setting.

 

 

The quote which is shown below is a quote from the well-known Christmas hymn tune "Gloria", as known in the arrangement by Edward Shippen Barnes.

 

 

The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.

 

Lines for a Christmas Card