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What Child Is This?

What Child Is This?

Performed by The Tabernacle Choir & Orchestra at Temple Square, with Kristin Chenoweth

The traditional English melody for this serene carol, widely known as “Greensleeves,” was once thought to have been penned by King Henry VIII, though it was probably written before Henry’s reign. Centuries later, William Chatterton Dix authored a poem titled “The Manger Throne,” from which the lyrics of “What Child Is This?” are drawn, and published it in 1865. But it wasn’t until 1871 that Dix’s lyrics were matched with the familiar “Greensleeves” tune in John Stainer’s Christmas Carols New and Old, from where it spread to become a contemplative Christmas tradition.

Music: English Carol
Text: William Chatterton Dix
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

Listen to the Full Song


What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him,
The King of Kings, salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born
The Babe, the son of Mary!

Music from the 2019 Concert
  • A woman and young girl under a blanket watch Luke 2: The Christmas Story on a tablet.
  • A young woman dressed in white holds up a wrapped, cream-colored present.
  • Trumpet players dressed in white coats and top hats play Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
  • Smiling and laughing, children sing Gift of Christmas, Everywhere!
  • Kristin Chenoweth sings We Need a Little Christmas in front of string musicians and passes Mack Wilberg a percussive mallet.
  • Kristin Chenoweth sings O Holy Night! into a microphone while The Tabernacle Choir accompanies behind her.