New Carol: In Those Days Augustus Sent

wreathAbout Lessons and New Carols: a spiritual discipline for Advent 2013 of writing new texts to old hymn tunes following the readings of a Lessons and Carols service.

One of the things I’m struggling with as I go along this hymn writing discipline is copyright. There are many wonderful tunes I could be using that are still under copyright. The tunes that aren’t are mostly old, European hymn tunes. It would be great to use tunes from around the world (published more recently and under copyright). But, for now, I’m working with that I have.

This new carol is called “In Those Days Augustus Sent.” The great news is after the last carol (which I admit wasn’t the most singable), this carol is set to the highly singable¬†TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM. You may know it as “Good King¬†Wenceslas” or “Gently Mary Laid Her Child.” Both sets of text set this tune firmly in the Christmas wheelhouse.

I realized after recording the carol that “fervor” isn’t the easiest word to sing, but if your congregation can sing “Wenceslas” I think we’ll be ok.

The carol is based on Luke 2:1, 3-7. Again, I’m skipping some traditional readings. I may come back to them, but I’d rather write carols that flow than force myself to write carols for the sake of writing a carol based on a certain scripture. The first verse sticks to the scripture. The second and third verse are a bit more open to the entire birth narrative like many carols we sing in our churches.

This carol would be great in Lessons & Carols and also Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Christmastide.


Here are the lyrics for “In Those Days Augustus Sent” in PDF

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In Those Days Augustus Sent by Emily Hope Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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