Saturday 3 December 2016

St Godric and the earliest recorded English songs

From William Wildblood: 

The main reason I wanted to draw attention to St Godric is because of three songs he is supposed to have received in visions.

The first, Sainte Marie viergene, was given him by the Virgin Mary who appeared to him in the chapel of his hermitage accompanied by Mary Magdalene. Then a second song was given him by his recently deceased sister Burgwen, for whose soul he had been praying. She visited him with two angels who added the Kyrie Eleison refrains to her song, Crist and Sainte Marie.

The third song may have been given him by Saint Nicholas as Reginald writes that the saint  (who was eventually to be transformed into Santa Claus/Father Christmas) visited him one night and they sang loudly together. Apart from being very beautiful, and they are, these songs are of special interest in that they are the earliest English songs with surviving music.

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