Words: William C. Dix, 1867
Source: Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, First Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., circa 1871), Carol #2
1. Like silver lamps in a distant shrine,
The stars are sparkling bright
The bells of the city of God ring out,
For the Son of Mary is1 born to-night.
The gloom is past and the morn at last
Is coming with orient light.
2. Never fell melodies half so sweet2
As those which are filling the skies,
And never a palace shone half so fair
As the manger-bed where our Saviour lies;
No night in the year is half so dear
As this which has ended our sighs.
3. Now a new Power has come on the earth,
A match for the armies of Hell:
A Child is born who shall conquer the foe,
And all the spirits of wickedness quell:
For Mary's Son is the Mighty One
Whom the prophets of God foretell.
4. The stars of heaven still shine as at first
They gleamed on this wonderful night;
The bells of the city of God peal out
And the angels' song still rings in the height,
And love still turns where the Godhead burns
Hid in flesh from fleshly sight.
5. Faith sees no longer the stable floor,
The pavement of sapphire is there
The clear light of heaven streams out to the world
And the angels of God are crowding the air,
And heaven and earth through the spotless birth
Are at peace on this night so fair.
1. Or: was Return
2. Or: No earthly songs are half so sweet Return
Sheet music by Charles Steggall from Bramley & Stainer
Sheet Music by J. Barnby from Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol #744
Chope notes that verses 2, 3, and 5 begin on the second chord, i.e., at the beginning of the bar. Mono-syllables in italics (in the original score, above) should be sung to two notes, and dissyllables to one note or two notes slurred.
Sheet Music by Charles Steggall from The Parish School Hymnal. Philadelphia: Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1926, #29
This arrangement differs from that found in Hutchins, above.