Scripture Verse

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14


Words & Mu­sic: Jar­ed B. Wa­ter­bu­ry, in Ca­rols, Hymns, and Songs, ed­ited by John H. Hop­kins, Jr. (New York Church Book De­po­si­to­ry, 1863), page 14. Also ap­peared in Child­ren’s Prais­es, ed­it­ed by Ju­li­us H. Wa­ter­bu­ry (New York Ci­ty and Ro­ches­ter, New York: D. M. Dew­ey and Pott, Young & Com­pa­ny, 1871), num­ber 75 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Jar­ed or Ju­li­us Wa­ter­bu­ry (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


On the win­try and lone­ly hill­side,
All in the dim star­light,
Shepherds over the flock were keep­ing
Watch at the dead of night;
When swift an­gels of light came down,
And earth with ho­san­nas rang;
Harps of gold and che­ru­bic voices
Loudly and cheer­ly sang
At Beth­le­hem:


Glory to God in the high­est,
And on earth peace, good­will to men.

Earth was wrapped in a robe of win­ter:
Kindly the new-fall’n snow
Drew the veil of a vir­gin white­ness
Pure ov­er guilt and woe.
Beasts of prey on the froz­en mount­ain,
Flocks on the charm­èd plain,
Nature all, in en­tranc­èd rap­ture,
Listened to that sweet strain
From Beth­le­hem:


Proudly march­ing along the forum,
Priests with a pom­pous train,
Closed the gates of the Ro­man Ja­nus
Under a Cæ­sar’s reign.
Everywhere, and in ev­ery na­tion,
War, with its car­nage grim,
Shouts and groans, and the roar of bat­tle,
Ceased for the an­gel’s hymn
At Beth­le­hem:


Lo! each ora­cle of the hea­then
Soon dis­en­chant­ed proves:
Through the gloom of the dark Do­do­na,
Dumb are the oak­en groves;
Dumb the voice of Apol­lo’s priest­ess,
Delphi is left for­lorn;
All the realms of the de­mons tremb­le,
Knowing their Con­qu’ror born
At Beth­le­hem:


Wide and wid­er at ev­ery Christ­mas
Echoes the joy­ful sound;
From Ju­dea the glad good tid­ings
Now run the wide world round.
Sing, then sing, for the list­en­ing an­gels,
Bending on ea­ger wing,
Join us now in the roy­al cho­rus
They were the first to sing
At Beth­le­hem: