Scripture Verse

A great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests. Luke 2:13–14

Introduction

Words: From Har­mon­ia Sacra, by Jo­seph Funk (1778–1862).

Music: Christ­mas George F. Han­del, from the op­e­ra Ci­roë (Cy­rus), 1728. Ar­ranged in Har­mon­ia Sacra, 1812 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Funk (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

portrait
George F. Handel
(1685–1759)

Lyrics

Hark from on high those blissful strains!
Whence can such sweetness be?
Have angels waked their golden harps
With Heav’ns own minstrelsy?
With Heav’ns own minstrelsy?

Or do we hear the cherub voice
Of infant bands who raise,
Soaring from earth celestial notes
In their Creator’s praise?
In their Creator’s praise?

Thus spake the shepherds—yet with dread,
So strange the sounds they heard,
While o’er their slumbering flocks they kept
Their wonted nightly guard,
Their wonted nightly guard.

And soon they saw a dazzling light
Beam through the starry way,
And shining seraphs clustering where
The infant Jesus lay,
The infant Jesus lay.

They came a Savior’s birth to tell,
And tunes of rapture sing;
Hence the glad notes that filled the air—
Each swept his loudest string,
Each swept his loudest string.

But now in accents soft and kind
The chieftain angel said,
Heav’ns tidings of great joy we bear—
Shepherds, be not afraid,
Shepherds, be not afraid.