The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night

A Hymn For Christmas Day

Words: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

See: Christmastide Poems of Christina Rossetti

Source: The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti, Vol. 3, p. 122, R. W. Crump, ed. (Penguin, 2001)

The Shepherds watch their flocks by night,
Beneath the moon's unclouded light,
All around is calm and still,
Save the murm'ring of the rill:
When lo! a form of light appears,
And on the awe-struck Shepherds' ears
Are words, of peace and comfort flowing
From lips with love celestial glowing.
Spiritual forms are breaking
Through the gloom, their voices taking
Part in the adoring song
Of the bright angelic throng.
Wondering the Shepherds bend
Their steps to Bethlehem, and wend
To a poor and crowded inn:
Tremblingly their way they win
To the stable, where they find
The Redeemer of mankind,
Just born into this world of danger,
Lying in an humble manger.
And they spread abroad each word
Which that joyful night they'd heard,
And they glorified the name
Of their gracious God, Who came
Himself to save from endless woe
The offspring of this world below.

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