Song of the Angels, at the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour
Version 2 - William Sandys, 1833
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
The Vision Of The Shepherds
Words: Nahum Tate, 17001; first appeared in Tate and Brady’s Supplement, 1700.
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.4
3. To you, in David's town, this day
Is born of David's line
A5 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign.
1. One source gives the year as 1702, although this may be erroneous. Return
2. Or: angels Return
3. The Irons arrangement repeats the last two lines. However, in Sandys and some other versions, the repetition of the last line is omitted in all verses. The Howard arrangement omits the repetition, but merges the first and second verses, the third and fourth verses, and the fifth and sixth verses. Return
4. Or: To all of humankind. Return
5. Or: The Return
6. Or: wrapt Return
7. Or: swathing; Pronounced "sway-thing" Return
7a. Or: a shining throng. Return
8. Or: Of angels praising God, on high,
Who thus addressed their song Return
9. Or: And on earth be peace Return
10. Or: men Return
Sheet Music "Angel's Carol" by J. Clarke from O. Hardwig, ed., The Wartburg Hymnal (Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House, 1918), #119
Sheet Music "Bethlehem" by G. W. Fink from O. Hardwig, ed., The Wartburg Hymnal (Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House, 1918), #120
Sheet Music by William Knapp, New Church Melody: Being a Set of Anthems, Psalms, Hymns, &c. on Various Occasions. In Four Parts with a Great Variety of other Anthems, Psalms, Hymns, &c. Composed after a Method Entirely New, and Never Printed Before. Fifth Edition. (London: R. Baldwin, S. Crowder, et al., 1753, 1764), pp. 159-161.
Settings to "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night" by William Knapp are
available at ChoralWiki (CPDL , the Choral Public Domain Library)
PDF & Midi versions available.
Note that settings for these lyrics by 16 composers are available at the CPDL.
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.
Editor's Note: Sandys included no sheet music for this carol. For additional settings, see While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks - Version 1 (Davies, 1822).
Copies of this carol on this web site include:
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks - Gilbert (with notes and sheet music)
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks - Sandys (this page)
Also found in Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), pp. 120-121, who had this note:
This piece enjoys great popularity in the rural districts. In the West it is frequently to be met with in the local Hymnbooks. It is probably not older than the last century.
Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.
See and play the Noteworthy Composer score if you have installed the NoteWorthy Composer Browser Plug-in
"Christmas," George Frederick Handel, 1728
Only tested by Noteworthy for Netscape, Opera, and IE
Browsers (Versions 4 or 5)
If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.