Scripture Verse

The shepherds said one to another, Let us…go…unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Luke 2:15


Luke H. Wiseman (1822–1875)

Words: Ben­ja­min Gough, in Christ­mas Min­strel­sy, by Jo­seph Will­iams & Hen­ry J. Gaunt­lett (Lon­don & Man­ches­ter, Eng­land: No­vel­lo & Brem­ner, 1864), num­ber 90, alt.

Music: Beth­le­hem-Ju­dah Luke H. Wis­eman (🔊 pdf nwc).

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


Softly up­on Beth­le­hem’s plains
Falls the gen­tle dew of night;
Sweetly so­lemn si­lence reigns—
Earth how calm, and Heav’n how bright!
Every star shines out alone,
Looking down from Heav’n to earth;
Beautiful as first they shone
Radiant at cre­ation’s birth.

O’er the slop­ing mount­ain’s side,
Clustering flocks of sheep re­pose;
Watchful shep­herds there abide,
Feed and guard them from their foes:
There they watch from ev­en­ing’s ray,
Sleepless un­til mid­night’s hush;
There in thought­ful mus­ings stay,
Till the tears of twi­light gush.

Happy shep­herds! lift your eyes;
Eastward cast your glance afar;
See! what lus­ter gilds the skies,
Lit by yon­der sig­nal star!
Slow des­cend­ing from above,
See! an an­gel form ap­pears!
God’s own mes­sen­ger of love
Brings glad tid­ings to your ears.

See! he folds his snowy wings;
Heav’n in mer­cy stoops to earth;
Listen to the news he brings,
Tidings of Mes­si­ah’s birth!
Shout in tri­umph, earth and Heav’n,
Swell the song of sweet ac­cord;
Jesus lives, the Son is giv’n,
Bow, and wor­ship Christ the Lord.

Multitudes of an­gels sing
Strains ce­les­ti­al, songs di­vine;
Glory to the new­born King!
Men may now with an­gels join;
Hallelujahs loud and long
Swell upon the shep­herds’ ears,
Richer far than mor­tal song,
Or the mu­sic of the spheres.

Happy shep­herds! let us go
Unto Beth­le­hem and see
God made ma­ni­fest be­low,
Smiling on His mo­ther’s knee.
Babe al­migh­ty! earth’s de­sire!
Heav’n’s an­oint­ed One art Thou;
Men and an­gels, son and sire,
Place the crown up­on His brow.

Shepherds Abiding in the Fields
Carl H. Bloch (1834–1890)