"What Child is This?" was written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865. It was originally written as a poem called "The Manger Throne" then later became a song and sung to the music of "Greensleeves".
The first stanza asks a question and is answered in the second half of that stanza, the second stanza does the same thing, and the third stanza is an appeal to accept Christ.
This poem was written while Dix was very ill and bedridden caused by a severe illness.
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.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
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.
This is one of my favorite Christmas carols. I also really enjoy playing it on my violin.