As Joseph was a walking, he heard an angel sing;
His song was of the coming of Christ, our Savior King.
The good man, long dejected, had knelt to Him who hears;
The blest refrain now swelling removes his doubts and fears.
“Be not afraid when hearing the choirs seraphic sing;
This night shall be the birthtide of Christ the heavenly King;
He neither shall in housen be born, nor yet in hall;
Nor bed, nor downy pillow, but in an oxen stall.
He neither shall be clothèd in purple nor in pall,
But in the fair white linen that usen babies all.
He neither shall be rockèd in silver nor in gold;
But in a wooden manger, that resteth on the mold.
As Joseph was a walking, thus did an angel sing;
At night the mother maiden gave birth to Christ our king.
The blessèd virgin wrapped Him from nightly winds, so wild;
The lowly manger held Him, her wondrous holy Child.
And marshaled on the mountain, the angels raise their song;
The shepherds hear the story in anthems clear and strong.
The herald hymn obeying, nor loth, nor yet afraid,
They seek the lowly dwelling, and there the Child is laid!
Then be ye glad, good people, this night of all the year;
And light ye up your candles—His star it shineth near;
And all in earth and Heaven, our Christmas carol sing:
Good will, and peace, and glory! And all the bells shall ring.