The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Carol of the Bagpipers

"When Christ our Lord was Born at Bethlehem Afar"

Version 1

For Advent & Christmas

Words and Music: Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Canzone D'l Zampognari, "Quanno nascette Ninno a Bettelemme"

Translation by Dr. Theodore Baker, 1904

Music: Canzone D'l Zampognari
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer

Source: Eduardo Marzo, ed., Songs of Italy; sixty-five Tuscan, Florentine, Lombardian and other Italian folk- and popular songs. (New York: G. Schirmer, 1904), pp. 142-144.

Also found in Walter Ehret and George K. Evans, eds., The International Book of Christmas Carols (Fort Lauderdale: Walton Music Corporation, 1963, 1980), pp. 242-243.

1. When Christ our Lord was born at Bethlehem afar,
Altho' 't was night, there shone as bright as noon a star:
Never so brightly
Never so whitely
Shone the stars, as on that night!
The brightest star went
Away to call the Wise Men from the Orient.

2. There were no foes on Earth, or warfare blazing,
Beside the lion then the sheep was grazing,
Safe by the leopard
Wander'd the shepherd
With the bear the calf did play,
The wolf so savage
Would not the tender lamb molest or ravage

3. While shepards in the fields their flocks were tending,
A shining angel came from heav'n descending;
When he beheld them,
Straightway he told them:
Hear my voice, be not afraid!
Be glad, rejoice, now,
For Earth has all become like Paradise, now!

Sheet Music from Marzo, Songs of Italy, pp. 142-143.


The original Italian poem is said to contain 24 verses. See: Quanno nascette Ninno at Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Other translations include:

Contrast: When Christ Was Born In Bethlehem (Housman, 1906).

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