The Three Kings

Posted on 10th January 2024 by simonbeattie

I have recently started reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. A number of people have recommended it to me over the years and I have finally got round to getting a copy. It made me think of other things she wrote. One of my favourite works by her is not a crime novel at all, but a poem which appeared in her first book, Op. 1, published by Basil Blackwell in 1916 when Sayers was fresh out of Oxford:

Lucian Nethsingha once told me that he thought Epiphany had all the best music. I’m inclined to agree. Sayers’ poem was the text chosen for the carol commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge for its Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 2000.  The composer was Jonathan Dove, who wrote: ‘Sayers achieves a surprising emotional power and mystery by portraying the youngest king, the nearest to childhood, as the saddest, bringing a gift of myrrh which anticipates Christ’s passion and death; it is the oldest king, nearest to the grave, who brings golden toys.’

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