Scripture Verse

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


Words: Kate Bart­lett, in Christ­mas Ca­rols New and Old, third ser­ies, by Hen­ry R. Bram­ley & John Stain­er (Lon­don: No­vel­lo, Ewer, cir­ca 1878), num­ber 44.

Music: Ger­trude Hine (🔊 pdf nwc).

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


In the coun­try nigh to Beth­le­hem
On a star­ry night of old,
There were in the fields abid­ing,
Shepherds with their flocks in fold.
Round the flocks the faith­ful shep­herds
Kept their watch from eve till morn,
Lest their sheep, so weak and hel­pless,
Should by ev­il beasts be torn.

Haply, through their long night-watch­es,
They made hill and val­ley ring
With the songs of ho­ly glad­ness
Which King Da­vid used to sing.
Songs of praise to God their shep­herd,
Who de­fend­ed them from ill,
And their wea­ry, wan­der­ing foot­steps
Guided to the wa­ters still.

As they watched, a burst of glo­ry
Shone around them from above,
And a migh­ty glo­ri­ous an­gel
Calmed their fears with words of love:
Fear not, for be­hold, I bring you
Tidings full of great­est joy,
Joy eter­nal, full of glad­ness,
Joy which no­thing can de­stroy.

Unto you in Da­vid’s ci­ty,
As was told by pro­phet’s word,
Christ is born, your God and Sav­ior,
Christ is born, your king and Lord.

Suddenly a host of an­gels
Raised their voic­es high and sang,
Till the vault­ed arch of Hea­ven
With the ec­ho­ing chor­us rang:

Glory, glo­ry, in the high­est,
Unto God, and peace on earth;
To all na­tions joy­ful bring we
Tidings glad of Je­sus’ birth.

Lift we now our hearts and voices,
Join we all with cheer­ful cry,
Learned by shep­herds from the an­gels,
Glory be to God on high!