There were…shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.@Luke 2:8

Anonymous, before 1863. An article in the New York Times, December 25, 1862, reported the carol was played that day on bells at Trinity Church in New York City. The words appeared in Sunday School Hymns, compiled by a presbyter of the Diocese of Michigan (New York: General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union and Church Book Society, 1866), number 12.

Mrs. T. I. Holcombe, in Children’s Praise, edited by Julius Henry Waterbury (Rochester, New York/New York City: D. M. Dewey/Pott, Young & Company, 1871), number 71 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Bright, bright, in silver light,
The morning stars were shining;
And shepherds watching o’er their flocks,
Were on their staves reclining,
Were on their staves reclining.

Clear, clear, so very near,
A burst of music sounding;
That flocks and shepherds rose at once,
With swelling hearts rebounding,
With swelling hearts rebounding.

Loud, loud, the chorus grew,
Till all the air was swelling;
And from the heavens came a voice,
That heav’nly news was telling,
That heav’nly news was telling.

Joy! Joy! Your Lord is born!
The heavenly voice was saying
While kneeling on the frosty ground,
The shepherds all were praying,
The shepherds all were praying.

Peace, peace, on earth be peace,
Good will to brothers greeting;
Arise, and hasten to the Babe,
Fast in the stable sleeping,
Fast in the stable sleeping.

Praise, praise, to God be praise,
And glory in the highest;
All praise to Thee, O newborn Babe,
Who in the manger liest,
Who in the manger liest.

Praise, praise, the Spirit praise,
The holy Dove descending;
Who, with the Father and the Son,
Shall reign through days unending,
Shall reign through days unending.