The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

If You Shepherds Watched The Lambing

For Christmas

Words: Bargies ollans, an Old Besanon Nol

English Translation by Rev. J. O'Connor

Music: Besanon Melody

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #61, pp. 8-9.

If you shepherds watch the lambing,
    Watch it through the holy night,
Never will you find a yearling
    Half so precious for delight
As a Lamb that we have found
    Away beyond; Come on!
There is no peril,
    This is Christ, king David's Son,
In manger laid,
    Born of Mary maid.

Question: Shall we take our tabors
    Marching drumming all the way?
So the din would rouse the neighbours
    And they'd come and join the play.
More the merrier! But look!
    We'd be mistook
For a mob, or an army,
    Folk will shut portals and hide
While we, outside
    Looking foolish, bide.

I'll go root up old man Simon,
    We can play together quite,
I my fiddle, he his viol
    That's the music for the night!
We'll set up a serenade
    And carols sing
To Jesus Mary, Joseph,
    Live the omnipotent King,
Laying in hay,
    Who was born this day!

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #61, pp. 8-9.

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