The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Run, Shepherds, Run

The Angel's Song
From "Flowers of Sion"

Words: William Drummond (1585-1649)

Music: Unknown

Source: Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), pp. 97-98.

Run, Shepherds, run where Bethlem blest appears,
    We bring the best of news, be not dismayed:
A Saviour there is born, more old than years
    Amidst Heaven's rolling heights this earth who stayed;
    In a poor cottage inned, a Virgin Maid,
A weakling did Him bear, who all upbears,
    There is He poorly swaddled, in a manger laid
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres:

Run, Shepherds, run, and solemnize His birth.
    This is that night -- no, day grown great with bliss,
    In which the power of Satan broken is;
In Heaven be glory, peace unto the Earth,
    Thus singing through the air the angels swam,
    A cope of stars re-echoed the same.

Sylvester's Note:

William Drummond, of Hawthornden, the friend of Ben Jonson, was the author of the following two sonnets. Jonson once trudged on foot to Scotland to see and converse with the man whom he had long known as a friendly correspondent. From Jonson's rude manners it does not appear that their mutual regard was enhanced.

Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvestre" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

Also found in Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 273, under the title "The Angels." She also gives attribution to William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649).

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 128. "By William Drummond of Hawthornden." He notes at page 263:

"Too often in reading Drummond of Hawthornden we feel that the poet is giving us “words, words, words.” His work is always polished and refined, but seldom throbs with life. The two sonnets I have quoted are graceful but (it must be confessed) commonplace. There is an elaborate life of Drummond (who died in 1649) by Professor Masson."

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