Peter Hollens brings us his 2nd new video from his Christmas album, A Hollens Family Christmas – What Child is This? Hollens calls it a follow-up to his smash video release last year of Mary, Did You Know?
What Child is This? Has a long history as a Christmas carol. The tune – Greensleeves — is much older than the lyrics, dating back to the 15th century, if not earlier.
Greensleeves was once upon a time a tune not previously associated with religious works and some mistakenly credit King Henry VIII with writing the song. The song is an ancient English folk tune whose date of creation isn’t actually known. The earliest known mention of the song dates from 1580 as a “northern dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves”. It may be older than that.
The song has thus been variously used for many purposes and all types of lyrics. So famous was the tune that Shakespeare mentions it in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” as a song played while traitors were publicly hung.
The words of What Child is This date back to 1865 and were written by a British poet named William Chatterton Dix, who originally titled his work “The Manger Throne”. Three stanzas from that poem actually make up the words to What Child is This?.