Scripture Verse

Where is the way to the dwelling of light? Job 38:19


Eugene Field

Words: Eu­gene Field, 1889.

Music: Pen­i­el Jo­si­ah Booth, 1888 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Josiah Booth

Origin of the Hymn

The his­to­ry of this hymn is set forth in the fol­low­ing let­ter from Dr. [Mel­anc­thon] Stryker to the Rev. Dr. [Lou­is] Ben­son of Phi­la­del­phia [Penn­syl­van­ia] in an­swer to an en­qui­ry re­spect­ing it:—

The hymn was giv­en me in 1889 in au­to­graph by Eu­gene Field, whom in Chi­ca­go [Il­li­nois] I knew well. He wrote it a lit­tle be­fore Christ­mas. Prob­ab­ly it ap­peared in the Chi­ca­go News, in the ‘Sharps and Flats’ col­umn. I know that he ex­pand­ed it in­to the verse you name. As it is in my book it is un­mod­if­ied by a word from the co­py gi­ven to me. I seized it at once for a hymn. Clin­ton, [New York] Oct. 1905.

This orig­in­al text is No. 73, in 4 stan­zas of 6 lines, in Dr. Stryker’s Col­lege Hym­nal, N.Y., 1897. The ex­pand­ed text is, As I was go­ing to Beth­lem-town.

Julian, p. 1712


There burns a star o’er Bethlehem town,
And gloriously it beameth down
Upon a virgin mother meek,
And Him whom solemn Magi seek.
Burn on, O star! and be the light
To guide us all to Him this night!

The angels walk in Bethlehem town—
The angels come and bring a crown
To Him, our Savior and our king,
And sweetly all this night they sing.
Sing on in rapture, angel throng!
That we may learn that heavenly song!

Near Bethlehem town there blooms a tree,
And it shall stand on Calvary!
But from the shade thereof we turn
Unto the star that still shall burn,
When Christ is dead and ris’n again,
To mind us that He died for men.

There is a cry in Bethlehem town!
’Tis of the Babe that wears the crown.
It telleth us that man is free—
That He redeemeth all and me!
The night is sped—behold the morn!
Sing, O my soul, the Christ is born!