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Gifts You Give Yourself

from Sunday, November18th of the year2007.

London is fully out of control. The cost of a train trip somewhere in town (like, seven blocks) can be the equivalent of oyster-card.jpg $6 or $7. If you have a magic tap-in, tap-out card, called the “Oyster,” things are slightly easier; the last time I was in London, I, for whatever reason, spent a zillion dollars and pumped money into this card and completely forgot about it. So imagine my delight when I arrived on Thursday and had scads of travel money left! Such a nice present from my past self. Whenever I have money, I buy six million little tubes of lip chap and put them in every right-hand jacket pocket “just in case;” I send ahead small tubes of hand cream to foreign destinations to save myself the plastic bag nightmare.

I have achieved Iceland. I have eaten so much pastry. I am about to go swimming. We begin the mix tomorrow morning; I’m on a strict diet of Gibbons verse anthems! Here comes one now:

Orlando Gibbons See, see the Word is incarnate

I wish I knew whose recording this is. This is my only non-copyprotected one; I also have a very good recording by New College, Oxford as well as Magdalen College, Oxford. In general, I think this recording is a little SLOW and also a little LOW (a lot of these anthems exist in various transpositions; although I have never seen this happen, you can imagine English people getting into Very Hushed but Furious Arguments about the nature of these translations).

In a bit of genius, the first verse is alto solo, the second, a duet, the third, a trio, and the fourth verse (which is my most favorite) a quartet. Very satisfying. When I was a boy, I was very excited by the bonus syllables in “The blind have sight and cripples have their motion” (motion being rendered mo-ti-on). Full text is below:

See, the Word is incarnate; God is made man in the womb of a Virgin.
Shepherds rejoice, wise men adore and angels sing
‘Glory be to God on high: peace on earth, good will towards men.
The law is cancelled,
Jews and Gentiles converted by the preaching of glad tidings of salvation.
The blind have sight and cripples have their motion;
diseases cured, the dead are raised, and miracles are wrought.
Let us welcome such a guest with Hosanna.
The Paschal Lamb is offered, Christ Jesus made a sacrifice for sin.
The earth quakes, the sun is darkened, the powers of hell are shaken;
and lo, he is risen up in victory.
Sing Alleluia.
See, O see the fresh wounds, the gored blood,
the prick of thorns, the print of nails.
And in the sight of multitudes a glorious ascension.
When now he sits on God’s right hand
where all the choir of heaven all jointly sing:
Glory be to the Lamb that sitteth on the throne.
Let us continue our wonted note with Hosanna:
Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of the Lord;
with Alleluia, we triumph in victory,
the serpent’s head is bruised, Christ’s kingdom exalted,
and heaven laid open to sinners.


  • I couldn’t get the music to play. Is the problem at my end, or is something wrong with the link? Just curious!

    Nico responds: CHECK AGAIN! I just fixed it.

  • Extra syllables are the best. Like “con-fess-i-on” in Amner´s Come, let´s rejoice, which is extra good because it happens twice in such rapid succession. I also like how Iceland, like nirvana, is “achieved.”

  • The Orlando Gibbons is amazing!

    Oh my god, I have the same lip lube addcition, haha!!! My new favorite is ‘Honey Lips, GRAPE’…I get it at 35 Beauty Supply, it’s the best – so yummy I bought the whole stock of it!

    Happy þakkagjörðarhátiðamatur!