Scripture Verse

I will make him my firstborn. Psalm 89:27


Words: Mary F. Tup­per, 1863–64. Pub­lished in Po­ems by Three Sis­ters (Lon­don: Ed­ward Mox­on, 1864), pag­es 4–5. The last two stan­zas would need to be re­placed or omit­ted if used out­side Eng­land.

Music: Those Christ­mas Bells Scott Wer­de­baugh, 2019 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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

Scott Werdebaugh (1951–)


The Christ­mas bells! What glad wild notes
They fling against the win­try sky,
And how their clang­ing ir­on throats
Catch back the ech­oes ere they die!
For ma­ny hun­dred years ago
Was born in­to this world be­low,
A hum­ble babe―a migh­ty king―
Whom end­less praise the an­gels sing,
While men adore.

The new year’s chimes! One mourn­ful bell
Booms sad­ly from the still church tow­er;
It tolls the old year’s part­ing knell,
It tells the old year’s dy­ing hour!
But, sud­den­ly the hills around
Vibrate again the mer­ry sound
Of bells, that on the night air break,
Bidding all thank­ful hearts awake,
The glad world o’er.

Another peal! A week has fled,
Again the mer­ry bells are heard;
And the old raft­ers ov­er­head
Seem in their dust and cob­webs stirred;
For, through Old Eng­land’s breadth and length,
All hearts, all tongues unite their strength,
To tell how smiles on Eng­land’s heir
A lit­tle in­fant soft and fair,
His first born son.

We do not know what joy may here
Upon his on­ward path be shed,
But this we pray, that each new year
May pour new bless­ings on his head!
And as each Christ­mas­tide comes round,
May he more Chris­tian-like be found,
Till, full of hon­ors, full of days,
He pass­es to the life of praise,
On earth be­gun.