Villains and Innocents

The video above is a classic Christmas song known as the Coventry Carol. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2. the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed. It is a lament that is imagined having been sung by the mothers of the children lost to Herod’s cruelty. It combines the sound of their weeping with the gentle cadences of a lullaby. The lullaby is known as “Lully Lullay.” The account of the Holy Innocents is today’s gospel.

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