The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Shepherds Keep Their Flocks By Night

Words: S. Cosmas the Melodist, 8th Century
Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale

Source: George Radcliffe Woodward, ed, Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), # 31

1. The Shepherds keep their flocks by night;
The heav’n glows out with wondrous light;
The glory of the Lord is there,
The Angel-bands their King declare:
The watchers of the night confest—
“God of our Fathers! thou art blest.”

2. The Angel ceased, and suddenly
Seraphick legions fill’d the sky:
“Glory to God!” they cry agen, “
And peace on earth, goodwill to men!”
Christ comes! And they that heard confest—
“God of our Fathers! thou art blest”

3. What said the Shepherds? “Let us turn
This new-born miracle to learn:”
To Bethlem’s gate their footsteps drew,
The Mother with the Child they view:
They knelt and worshipp’d, and confest—
“God of our Fathers! thou art blest.”

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