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. Luke 2:8–9


Words: From Ger­ma­ny, some­time be­tween the 13th & 17th Cen­tu­ries (Quem pas­to­res lau­da­ve­re). Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John Ful­ton. Ap­peared in Great Hymns of the Church, Com­piled by the Late Right Re­ver­end John Free­man Young, ed­it­ed by John H. Hop­kins (New York: James Pott, 1887), num­ber 53.

Music: Quem Pas­to­res me­lo­dy from Hoh­en­furth (now Vyš­ší Brod, Czech­ia) ma­nu­script, 1410 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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


While their flocks the shep­herds tend­ed,
Heavenly hosts to earth des­cend­ed,
Singing, with all voic­es blend­ed,
Fear not, Christ is born to­day.

Eastern seers rich gifts had wrought Him,
Gold, frank­in­cense, myrrh they brought Him;
Guided by a star they sought Him,
Prince of Life and Vic­to­ry.

On that Child with Ma­ry gaz­ing,
Join ye Chris­tians all in rais­ing
Songs to Him whom Hea­ven is prais­ing,
God in­car­nate come to men.

From this day’s first dawn to ev­en,
Praise to Christ our king be giv­en
By all earth, and all in Hea­ven,
In our sweet­est, lof­ti­est praise.