There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.@Luke 2:8-9

Frederic W. Farrar, 1871, alt. While an assistant master at Harrow School, Farrar wrote these words for the boys there, and it was frequently sung in the chapel.

Chope, Chope’s Carols (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Frederic W. Farrar (1831-1903)

In the field with their flocks abiding,
They lay on the dewy ground;
And glimmering under the starlight,
The sheep lay white around;
When the light of the Lord streamed o’er them,
And lo! from heaven above,
An angel leaned from the glory,
And sang his song of love.
He sang, that first sweet Christmas,
The song that shall never cease.

Refrain

Glory to God in the highest,
On earth good will and peace.

To you in the city of David
A Savior is born today!

And sudden a host of the heavenly ones
Flashed forth to join the lay.
O never hath sweeter message
Thrilled home to the souls of men
And the heavens themselves had never heard
A gladder choir till then.
For they sang that Christmas carol
That never on earth shall cease.

Refrain

And the shepherds came to the manger,
And gazed on the Holy Child;
And calmly o’er that rude cradle
The virgin mother smiled;
And the sky in the starlit silence,
Seemed full of the angel lay:
To you in the City of David
A Savior is born today!

O they sang, and we pray that never
The carol on earth shall cease.

Refrain