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;
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.