The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The World Lay Hushed in Slumber Deep

Alternate Title: A Star Appeared In The East

For Christmas Eve and Christmas

Words: “Campbell”

Source: Sacred Poetry (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1828), pp. 24-25. Five verses.

1 The world lay hush'd in slumber deep.
And darkness veil'd the mind,
When rose upon their shadowy sleep
The star that saves mankind.*

2 It dawns o'er Bethl'hem's holy shed.
And scatt'ring at the sight,
Heaven's idol-host at once have fled,
Before that awful light.

3 Led by the solitary star.
To glory's poor abode,
Lo ! wond'ring wisdom from afar
Brings incense to her God.

4 Humility, on Judah's hills.
Watching her fleecy care,
Turns to an angel voice, that fills
With love the midnight air.

5 Like voices thro' yon bursting cloud,
Announce th' Almighty plan ;
Hymning, in adoration loud,
"Peace and good-will to man."


* "The star of God most high" in William Morris, 1831 (below).


Most sources give attribution only to “Campbell.” One source, however, gives attribution to “Thomas Campbell” : Mary C. Vose, in a collection of poems entitled “Merry Christmas” To You My Friend, (Boston: Richard G. Badger, The Gorham Press, 1907), p. 64, with two verses.

However, the first line of this poem does not occur in The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell (Oxford Edition, 1907), nor does it occur in any collection of his poetry that I have yet perused, including the two volume set from 1830.

Also found in

Campbell, Thomas, the Poet, (27 July 1777 – 15 June 1844) has little in common with hymnody. A few of his pieces, including," When Jordan hushed its waters still," are found in a limited number of hymnals. His poetical works, The Pleasures of Hope, Gertrude of Wyoming, and others, have been reprinted several times. He was b. at Glasgow, 1777; d. at Boulogne, 1844, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

    Source: John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, 1907).

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