Dec 15, 2021
Day 3 - "Greensleeves," the tune to which "What Child is This?" is sung, has a long history. It was apparently first licensed or registered in 1580 to a Richard Jones (with a set of lyrics that were not in the least religious, nor even very respectable), but it is probably older still. Some theories have it that Henry VIII wrote the song. In any event, Henry's daughter Queen Elizabeth I is said to have danced to it; Shakespeare mentioned it by name twice in The Merry Wives of Windsor; traitors were hanged as hired bands of musicians played its strains in lugubrious tempo. Almost three centuries later, about 1865, William Chatterton Dix published "The Manger Throne." Three stanzas were later culled from that poem and fitted to "Greensleeves," thus creating "What Child is This?," one of our loveliest carols.
The version you are hearing today was arranged by Linda Hartman.