The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Carol XIV. The Desire of All Nations


What Ear Shall Be Clos'd

For Christmas

Words: Anonymous.

Music: Old Melody

Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 68-71.



 The desire of all nations shall come. ” —Haggai ii. 7.

 Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall he to all people. ”—Luke ii. 10.

What ear shall be clos'd and what tongue shall be dumb,
When gratitude calls us to tell 
Of the Saviour, who deign'd on this morning to come 
On earth with his creatures to dwell ? 
His birth could the anthem of angels employ ; 
And shall man be reluctant to find, 
To welcome his Saviour, a carol of joy, 
The Hope and Delight of mankind ?

From Judea the tidings of joy sounded forth
Which announced " the Desire of the world :" 
It was told in the south, it was heard in the north, 
How death from his empire was hurl'd. 
The tidings the east cried aloud to the west 
Of mankind from captivity free ; 
Nor stay'd the glad sound till our fathers it blest, 
Far away in the isles of the sea.

From our fathers to us the good tidings descend,
From us to our children agen; 
Unrestrain'd as the sun, and as lasting, they blend 
All the nations and ages of men. 
Good news of great joy to all people, they speak 
At once to the learn'd and the rude, 
To barbarian and Scythian, the Jew and the Greek, 
Nor country nor person exclude.

From the man who goes forth to his labour by day,
To the woman his help-meet at home ; 
From the child that delights in his infantine play, 
To the old on the brink of the tomb ; 
From the bridal companions, the youth and the maid 
To the train on the death-pomp that wait; 
From the rich in fine linen and purple array'd, 
To the beggar that lies at his gate :

To all is the ensign of blessedness shown,
To the dwellers in vale or on hill, 
Alike to the monarch who sits on his throne, 
And the bond-man who toils at the mill: 
High and low, rich and poor, young and old, one and all 
Earth's sojourners, dead and alive, 
Who perish'd by Adam our forefather's fall, 
Shall in Jesus the Saviour revive.

Not an ear, that those tidings of welfare can meet,
But to it doth that welfare belong : 
Then those tidings with rapture what ear shall not greet, 
What tongue shall not echo the song ? 
All hail to the Saviour ! all hail to the Lord ! 
God and man in one person combin'd ! 
The Father's Anointed ! by Angels ador'd ! 
The Hope and Delight of mankind !

Sheet Music from Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 70-71.

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