The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Carol V. The Angel of the Lord


How Bright Was The Glory

For Christmas

Words: Anonymous.

Music: Arne

Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 34-38.



" And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, 
keeping watch over their flocks by night. 
And lo ! the Angel of the Lord came upon them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them."óLuke ii. 8, 9.

How bright was the glory, that beaming
On the shepherds of Bethlehem's fold, 
And far o'er the firmament streaming, 
The presence of Deity told ! 
Lo! around them the midnight arraying 
With light, as of morning, it glow'd, 
Above them in brightness displaying 
The form of an Angel of God.

O bright was that Angel appearing
The shepherds of Bethlehem among, 
And joyful and sweet to their hearing 
The message that flow'd from his tongue! 
" No tidings I bring to distress you, 
But tidings of gladness and mirth : 
Of a Saviour to comfort and bless you, 
You and all that inhabit the earth."

And sweet, and with rapture o'erflowing,
Was the song from that multitude heard, 
Who their heav'n for a season foregoing, 
To second the Angel appeared. 
All glory," the anthem resounding, 
" To God in the highest," began ; 
And the chant was re-echoed, responding, 
" Peace on earth, loving kindness to man !'

No such music his coming attended,
No such hymn his benevolence spoke, 
Then the Lord on mount Sina descended,
In blackness, in tire, and in smoke : 
Flash'd the lightnings, the thunders were pealing
And louder the voice, and more loud, 
Of the trumpet, God's presence revealing,
Was heard from the mount and the cloud.

So dreadful to Israel assembled
Were the terrors they heard and they saw, 
Ev'n Moses exceedingly trembled,
When Jehovah delivered his law: 
That law He in justice erected,
Enforc'd by the dread of his ban, 
But left by his love unprotected,
To his judgment, the frailty of man.

But now that, in tender compassion,
He came the lost race to restore, 
Full of mercy his new dispensation,
And mild was the aspect it wore: 
And sweet was the voice and the vision
Of the Angel he sent from above, 
To herald the Saviour his mission,
His message the gospel of love.

That gospel, O ! fail not to cherish,
To the mourner refreshment and peace ; 
To the criminal, sentenc'd to perish,
His Sovereign's sign of release ; 
And when by the thunders affrighted,
Round the summit of Sinai roll'd, 
O list to the strain which delighted
The shepherds of Bethlehem's fold !

Sheet Music from Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 34-38.

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