Scripture Verse

There were…shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. Luke 2:9–10


Words: Ano­ny­mous, in The Ev­an­ge­li­cal Song­ster (New­bu­ry­port, Mas­sa­chu­setts: W. & J. Gil­man, 1812). This hymn is in­clud­ed main­ly for his­tor­ic in­ter­est. Its ar­cha­ic phras­ing would re­quire chang­es for mo­dern day use.

Music: Cu­per­ti­no T. R. Bow­den, 1899 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know Bow­den’s full name, or where to get a good pho­to of him (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


While shepherds in Jewry were guarding their sheep,
Promiscuously seated, estrangèd from sleep,
An angel from Hea­ven presented to view,
And thus he accosted the trembling few:
Dispel all your sorrows, and banish your fears,
For Je­sus your Sav­ior in Jewry appears.

When Ad­am the first in rebellion was found,
Forbidden to tarry on hallowèd ground,
Now Ad­am the second appears to retrieve
The loss you sustained by the devil and Eve;
Then, shepherds, be tranquil, this instant arise,
Go visit the Sav­ior and see where He lies.

A token I leave you whereby you may find
This heavenly stranger, this friend to mankind;
A manger His cradle, a stall His abode,
The oxen are near Him beholding your Lord.
Then, shepherds, be humble, be meek and lie low,
For Je­sus your Sav­ior’s abundantly so.

This wondrous story scarce bowed on the ear,
When thousands of angels in glo­ry appear;
They join in the concert, and this was the theme,
All glo­ry to God and good will toward men.
Then shepherds, strike in, join your voice to the choir
And catch a few sparks of celestial fire.

Hosannah, the adoring shepherds now cried,
Hosannah, the angels in glo­ry replied;
Salvation through Je­sus to mortals made known,
In glo­ry to God through the birth of His Son.
Now, shepherds, adieu, we commend you to God,
Go visit the Son in His humble abode.

To Bethlehem’s city the shepherds repaired,
For full confirmation of what they had heard;
They entered the stable with aspects so mild,
And there they beheld both the mother and child.
Then make proclamation, divulge it abroad,
That Jews and Gentiles may hear of the Lord.