The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

I Sing The Birth Was Born To-Night

Words: Ben Jonson, "I Sing The Birth" in "Underwoods"

Source: William Gifford, ed., The Works of Ben Jonson With A Biographical Memoir. A New Edition (London: Edward Moxon, 1838, 1843), p. 688. With updated spelling.

The Original Poem: I Sing The Birth, Was Borne To Night

An Hymn on the Nativity Of My Saviour

I sing the birth was born to-night,
The author both of life and light;
The Angels so did sound it.
And like the ravish'd shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet search'd, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the Eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.

The Father's wisdom will'd it so,
The Son's obedience knew no No,
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on him our nature.

What comfort by him do we win,
Who made himself the price of sin,
To make us heirs of glory!
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A martyr born in our defence;
Can man forget this story?


Also found in William Gifford, ed., “Underwoods,” The Works of Ben Jonson, Vol. VIII. (London: 1816), pp. 300-301.

This poem has been set to music. See:

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