1. Upon the snow-clad earth without,
The stars are shining bright.
As Heav'n had hung out all her lamps
To hail our festal night;
For on this night, long years ago,
The Blessed Babe was born,
The saints of old were wont to keep
Their vigil until morn.
2. 'Twas in the days when far and wide
Men owned the Caesar's sway,
That his decree went forth, that all
A certain tax should pay.
Then from their home in Nazareth's vale
Obedient to the same,
With Mary, his espoused wife,
The saintly Joseph came.
3. A stable and a manger, where
The oxen lowed around,
Was all the shelter Bethlehem gave,
The welcome that they found!
Yet blessed among women was
That holy mother-maid,
Who on that night her First-born Son
There in the manger laid.
4. In swaddling bands she wrapped Him
And smooth'd His couch of straw, round
While unseen Angels watched beside,
In mute, adoring awe.
How softly did they fold their winds
Beneath that star-lit shed,
While eastern Sages from afar
The new-born radiance led!
5. And thus it is, from age to age,
That as this night comes round,
So sweetly, underneath the moon,
The Christmas carols sound.
Because to us a Child is born,
Our Brother, and our King,
Angels in Heaven, and we on earth,
Our joyful anthems sing.
Sheet Music from Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1894), Carol #59
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