What Child Is This
What Child Is This? was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix, manager for a Glasgow marine insurance firm. The words are part of his Christmas Poem called “The Manger Throne”.
Three of the verses from The Manger Throne were then set to the melody of Greensleeves, whose original lyrics were neither religious nor even respectable. In fact, the original lyric to Greensleeves was a plea from a man to his bored mistress.
Shakespeare mentions Greensleeves twice in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, where the tune is played while traitors are being hanged.
What Child Is This? may be his most familiar work today, but Dix wrote over 40 hymns, including many songs for Christmas and Easter. Another of his carols that has endured is “As With Gladness, Men Of Old”, set to a meoldy by Konrad Kocher.