Scripture Verse

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


Words: 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.

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

If you know the au­thor, Hol­combe’s full name, or where to get their pho­tos,


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 cho-rus 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.