Scripture Verse

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14


James R. Lowell (1819–1891)

Words: James R. Low­ell, 1884.

Music: Gae­ta­no Do­ni­zet­ti (1797–1848) (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know when the mu­sic was writ­ten,

Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848)


What means this glo­ry round our feet,
The Ma­gi mused, more bright than morn!
And voic­es chant­ed clear and sweet,
Today the Prince of Peace is born!
What means this star, the shep­herds said,
That bright­ens through the roc­ky glen?
And an­gels an­swer­ing ov­er­head,
Sang Peace on earth, good will to men!

’Tis now two thou­sand years, and more,
[originally ’Tis eight­een hund­red years, and more]
Since those sweet ora­cles were dumb;
We wait for Him, like them of yore;
Alas! He seems so slow to come!
But it was said, in words of gold,
No time nor sor­row e’er shall dim,
That lit­tle child­ren might be bold,
In per­fect trust to come to Him.

All round about our feet shall shine
A light like that the wise men saw,
If we our lov­ing wills in­cline
To that sweet life which is the law.
So shall we learn to un­der­stand
The sim­ple faith of shep­herds then,
And kind­ly clasp­ing hand in hand,
Sing Peace on earth, good will to men!

One last verse, for tunes of a dif­fer­ent me­ter:

And they who do their souls no wrong,
But keep at eve the faith of morn,
Shall dai­ly hear the an­gel song,
Today the Prince of Peace is born!