The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Angel Gabriel

For The Annunciation

Alternate Titles:
Gabriel's Message
The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came

Words: Basque carol, paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)
Originally based on Angelus Ad Virginem, Anonymous 13th or 14th Century Latin

Music: Gabriel's Message, a Basque carol
Sheet Music available from and Cyberhymnal
Performed by Sting on "A Very Special Christmas"

Also: Angelus Ad Virginem
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
Meter: 77 77 88 11 6 7 6

1. The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow his eyes as flame
"All hail" said he "thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

2. "For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel, by seers foretold
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

3. Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name."
Most highly favored lady. Gloria!

4. Of her, Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:1
"Most highly favored lady," Gloria!


1. Or: And everyone throughout the world forever saved

Earthly Delights: Xmas Carols

This carol is based on a Basque one, 'Birjina gaztettobat zegoen,' collected by Charles Bordes and published in the series Archives de la tradition basque, 1895. Sabine Baring-Gould, who wrote several novels and hymns (including 'Onward Christian soldiers') and who had spent a winter as a boy in Basque lands, translated the carol into English, reducing the original 6 stanzas to 4 and giving Gabriel the very beautiful and very Victorian 'wings as drifted snow'.

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