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Christmas Day in the Morning ( for choir and harp)
John Pagan White (1812 – 1868) was born in Whitehaven and, despite moving away from Cumberland to work as a surgeon in Liverpool, retained a strong interest in the county of his birth. His book Lays and Legends of the English Lake Country was presented for posthumous publication by his brother in 1873. It drew on many of the poems and short odes written by Pagan White during his lifetime.
The song Christmas Day in the Morning was based on the popular carol theme ‘I Saw Three Ships’. John Pagan White had a bitter disdain for the institution of slavery and the song takes a strong moral stand against it. Slavery had been abolished by act of the British parliament in 1807, but continued to be practiced in many parts of the world and Pagan White regarded this as an issue to be confronted.