William suffered from a near-fatal sickness in 1865 leading to severe depression, and this near-death experience changed him completely. While recovering, he experienced spiritual awakening which inspired him to start crafting hymns. He subsequently wrote the lyrics of “What Child Is This?” and incorporated the tune of “Greensleeves" which was already one of the most aesthetic and beloved melodies of the festive season at that time.
The eloquent melody is a beautiful reference about the “Adoration of the Shepherds” who paid visit to Jesus during Nativity. Expert hymnologists would agree that Dix’s hymns are simple yet reverently sentimental proving sincerity of the author toward his relationship with Jesus.
"What Child Is This?" is featured in an influential collection of carols in the United Kingdom entitled “Christmas Carols Old and New" and earned popularity not only in the USA but all throughout the globe.
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