The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

What Words! What Voices Can We Bring?

A Hymn for Christmas Day

Words: Unknown

Music: William Knapp (1698-1768)

Source: William Knapp, ed., Anthems for Christmas Day (London: Robert Brown, et al., 1744) , pp. 15-17.

1. What Words! What Voices Can We Bring
Which way our Accents raise,
To welcome the misterious King.
And sing, and sing, and sing a Saviour's Praise.

2. What earthly Harmony can reach
Up to a Theme so high,
When Angels ne'er cou'd soar that Pitch,
Who dwell, who dwell, who dwell above the Sky?

3. Lo! Heav'n this Day descends to Earth,
Th' Immortal mortal grows,
Made Man by this stupendious Birth
To quell, to quell, to quell our dearly Foes.

4. In Swadling bands the God-head lies
To human Flesh debased
That we, His dearly ransom'd Prize,
Might be, might be, might be to Glory rais'd.

5. Long let the universal frame
The great Redeemer sing,
And men and angels at the name
Bow to, bow to, bow to the mystic King.

6. Redemption be the general sound,
This day no grief appear,
From earth to heav'n the notes rebound,
And mercy, mercy, mercy smiled to hear.

7. Oh! 'tis too litle all we can
For this unbounded love,
All that was ever writ by man,
Or sung, or sung, or sung in hymns above.

8. But though we can't fit language find
We praise, believe, adore!
With joyful hearts, and souls resigned,
And wish, and wish, and wish we could do more!

Sheet Music: William Knapp, ed., Anthems for Christmas Day (London: Robert Brown, et al., 1744), pp. 15-17.

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Note:

Free sheet music is available for this piece for non-commercial use from Roding Music, both vocals and vocals with keyboard. The Christmas Carols page has links to this and other carols sung in the West Galley tradition.

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