Little is known of Francis Kindlemarsh (or Kinwelmersh), the poet who wrote this text. It is believed he was from Essex, and that he studied law in London in the 1550s, where he also took part in the literary and theatrical life of Gray’s Inn.
His “Cast Off All Doubtful Care,” could be viewed as an early example of metaphysical poetic style, with its elaborate use of metaphor and analogy.
Kindlemarsh evidently became known to William Byrd, who first set this poem to music. Byrd’s setting was published in 1589, in a collection of works by the English composer entitled “Songs of Sundrie Natures.”
Here, "Cast Off All Doubtful Care" is sung by the choir of St. James Cathedral (Toronto), Vicki St. Pierre conducting.
Cast off all doubtful care,
Exile and banish tears;
To joyful news divine
Lend us your list'ning ears.
An earthly tree a heavenly fruit it bear,
A case of clay contained a crown immortal
A crown of crowns, a King whose cost and care
Redeemed poor man, whose race before was thrall
To death, to doom, to pains of everlasting,
By His sweet death, scorns, stripes, and often fasting.
A star above the stars, a sun of light,
Whose blessed beams this wretched earth bespread
With hope of heaven and of God's Son the sight,
Which in our flesh and sinful soul lay dead.
O faith, O hope, O joys renowned for ever,
O lively life that deathless shall persevere.
Then let us sing the lullabys of sleep
To this sweet babe, born to awake us all
From drowsy sin that made old Adam weep,
And by his fault gave to mankind the fall.
For lo! this day, the birth day, day of days,
Summons our songs to give Him laud and praise.