The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As Lately We Watched

(Austria - Die Hirten Auf Dem Felde)
Translation: Unknown

1. As lately we watch'd o'er our fields thro' the nigh,
A star there was seen of such glorious light.
All thro' the night, angels did sing,
Carols so sweet of the birth of a King.

2. A king of such beauty was ne'er before seen,
And Mary his mother so like a queen.
Blessed be the hour, welcome the morn,
For Christ our dear Saviour on earth now is born.

3. His throne is a manger, his court is a loft,
But troops of bright angels, in lays sweet and soft,
Him they proclaim, our Christ by name,
And earth, sky and air straight are filled with his fame.

4. Then shepherds, be joyful; salute your new King,
Let hills and vales ring to the song that ye sing.
Blessed be the hour, welcome the morn,
For Christ our dear Saviour on earth now is born.

Another translation of the second verse:

2. A King of such beauty was ne'er before seen,
He came down from heaven, from sin us to clean
Blessed be the hour  welcome the morn,
For Christ our dear Savior on earth now is born.

William L. Simon, ed., The Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (Pleasantville, NY: Readers Digest Association, revised 2003):

From Austria comes this traditional carol, sung to a tune similar to the old English "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." As with such other carols as "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Angels from the Realms of Glory" and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night," the song tells the story of the Nativity from the point of view of the shepherds near Bethlehem who follow the path of the star, hear the angels proclaim the birth of the newborn King and finally see the Infant in His manger-throne.

Editor's Note:

Instrumental sheet music to this and 12 other carols may be downloaded from Sally DeFord Music, http://www.defordmusic.com/carolsforpiano.htm (site accessed September 30, 2006). An MP3 of this arrangement is also available at that page.

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