A Golden Tree

Image: Jesse Tree Window, Chartres Cathedral, 1140–50 (detail from the bottom section, showing the sleeping Jesse).

A Christmas Carol

Music: Thomas Hewitt Jones
Words: Paul Williamson
© 2014

Commissioned by Manvinder Rattan and the John Lewis Partnership Music Society for first performance at the society's annual Service of Nine Lessons, Westminster Cathedral, 23 December 2014. Premiered by The Cavendish Singers, directed by Manvinder Rattan.

'A meditation on Isaiah 11.1 … a mystical text, evocative of William Morris.’ Rebecca Tavener, Organists’ Review, June 2016, p. 66.

To download the score of A Golden Tree from Boosey & Hawkes click here.

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    The upper part of the Jesse Tree Window at Chartres Cathedral, showing Jesus at the apex, with the Virgin Mary below him, and beneath them a generic Old Testament king.

The upper part of the Jesse Tree Window at Chartres Cathedral, showing Jesus at the apex, with the Virgin Mary below him, and beneath them a generic Old Testament king.

A Golden Tree

I dreamed I saw a golden tree
With lustrous branches swaying;
And pictures painted on each leaf
Of kings and prophets praying.

Rise, rise the tender shoot,
The tree that springs from Jesse’s root.
Crown, crown sweet Mary’s child,
Who in her arms lies waiting.

A boy of lovely countenance
And pure of heart was chosen.
A gorgeous queen brought priceless gifts
To bless a king’s great wisdom.

Strike, strike the shepherd’s lyre
And fill each heart with heaven’s fire.
Crown, crown sweet Mary’s child,
Who in her arms lies waiting.

A star and sceptre lit the sky,
The beast gave up its burden.
A child subdues the lion’s roar
In peaceable dominion.

Praise, praise the son of kings
With angels’ songs that mortals sing.
Crown, crown sweet Mary’s child,
Who in her arms lies waiting.

Words: Paul Williamson © 2014