The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Listen, Gentles, To The Story

Words:  Translated by Rev. S. Baring-Gould

Music: Flemish
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, Complete Edition, 1894), Carol #55

1. Listen, Gentles, to the story
Of our God made man today,
Lowly lies the Lord of glory
In the oxen's stall on hay,
From eternal splendour coming,
To the wintry world below
From the flow'ry glades of Eden,
To the earth entombed in snow;
From the still and tranquil heaven,
'Midst the howling winds that blow.

2. Lo! the King of Angels bendeth,
Comes and steps below their choirs,
Down the ten degrees the shadow
On the dial-plate retires. [1]
Lo! for man condemned to perish
Jonathan puts off his crown;
Lo! he strips himself to furnish
David with his princely gown,
With his robes the domed one 'scrapeth
Safely from the Father's frown. [2]

3. Lo! the Highest is made lowest,
Lo! the Almighty is made weak:
Lo! the light of lights, in darkness,
Shepherds in a stable seek.
Lo! the King becomes the subject:
Lo! the One Eternal -- born!
Lo! Creation's Source -- a creature!
And the Honoured suffers scorn.
Lo! the Sun, to earth declining,
Of his golden rays is shorn.

4. Wherefore is the High debased?
But that we may lifted be;
Wherefore comes the Sun among us?
But that blinded eyes may see.
Wherefore is the King made subject?
But that we through Him may reign;
Wherefore shines the Light in darkness?
But to illumine man again,
Who so long had crouched imprisoned,
Bound by Satan's cruel chain.


1. 2 Kings 20:11. The descent of the shadow on the dial of Ahaz down ten degrees, is a type of the descent of Christ below the nine degrees of angels, "Being made a little lower than the angels." Return

2. 1 Samuel 18:4. Jonathan another type of Christ. Return

Sheet Music from Chope

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