This year, I have decided to blog an Advent Calendar.
For the first day of Advent, I give you Adam Lay Y-Bounden. I have fixed views on the pronunciation in this carol. I don’t mind using ‘modern-type’ English for most of the words. I can take cl-ah-kes or cl-er-kes or cl-air-kes. But, for me, finden must have a short i: finn-dun, not fine-don. This carol is several centuries before the Great Vowel Shift, so the vowels should be short, as in the ‘northern’ accent.
This arrangement on YouTube is quite nice:
Why four thousand years? Well, before people figured these things out scientifically, the time from Adam to Christ was supposed to be 4000 years. (They used the genealogies in the bible, without stopping to think that only the important ancestors would have been named, or to consider the way in which an oral tradition changes, much like a game of Chinese Whispers.) Therefore, Adam, and his descendents were bound by original sin, until Christ came to redeem them. This idea also fits neatly with the four Sundays of Advent theme, but it works out because it gives us an Advent that is ‘about the right length’.