The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Shepherds Sing and Shall I Silent Be?

Alternate Title: We Sing One Common Lord

For Christmas Eve

Words: George Herbert

Music: Not Stated

Source: The Book of Christmas Hymns (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1868), pp. 42-43.

The shepherds sing ; and shall I silent be?
    My God, no hymn for Thee?
My soulís a shepherd too : a flock it feeds
    Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word ; the streams, Thy grace
Enriching all the place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
    Out-sing the daylight hours.
Then we will chide the sun for letting night
    Take up his place and right :
We sing one common Lord ; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching, till I find a sun
    Shall stay, till we have done ;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
    As frost-nipt suns look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
    And one another pay :
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till even his beams sing, and my music shine.

Note: This is an excerpt from a longer poem, All After Pleasures As I Rid One.

Omitted from this excerpt is this verse that immediately preceded the above:

O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,
    Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger ;
Since my dark soul and brutish is thy right,
    To Man of all beasts be not thou a stranger :
Furnish and deck my soul, that thou mayst have
A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.

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