The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

For Christmas: Nocturn.

Song of the Angels, at the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour

Luke II. From Verse 8 to Verse 15

Words: Nahum Tate; first appeared in Tate and Brady’s Supplement To The New Version of Psalms, 1700.

Music: "To St. James Tune, or any other Time of 8 and 6 Syllables," according to Tate and Brady, Eighth Edition, Corrected, 1833.

Source: Rev. John Chandler, The Hymns of the Primitive Church (London: John W. Parker, 1837), pp. 45-46.

1. While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
     All seated on the ground,
The Angel of the Lord came down,
     And glory shone around :

2. " Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
     Had seized their troubled mind ;
" Glad tidings of great joy
     I bring To you and all mankind.

3. " To you in David's town this day
     Is born, of David's line,
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
     And this shall be the sign :

4. " The heavenly babe you there shall find
     To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
     And in a manger laid."

5. Thus spake the seraph, and forth with
     Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
     Addressed their joyful song:

6. " All glory be to God on high,
     And to the earth be peace :
Good-will henceforth from Heaven to men
     Begin, and never cease."


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