The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

All Things Were In Silence

For Christmas Eve

"The Silent Night"

Words: W. C. Dix

Music: Not Stated, but see below.

Source: Source: William Chatterton Dix, ed., Hymns and Carols for Children (London: W. Knott, 1869), #15, pp. 12-13.

1. All things were in silence,
    Night sped on her course,
Came the Word Incarnate,
    Lept in royal force
From the throne eternal
    To the plains of earth,
He, the only Ageless,
    Fruit of Virgin birth.

        Hark ! tonight the Angels
            Sing the Holy Child :
        Born of Mary-Mother,
            Maiden undefiled.

2. Wisdom from the highest,
    From the shoreless sea,
From the heavenly circuit,
    Came for you and me :
Left His holy Sion,
    Tabernacle made
With the Blessed Virgin,
    Hasting to our aid.
        Hark! to-night, &c.

3. Like Engaddi1 palm-tree,
    Rose in crimson glow,
Cypress of Mount Hermon,
    Cedar fair in show :
So the child exalted
    All the worlds above,
Sprang from her He honoured,
    Mother of Fair Love.
        Hark! tonight, &c.

4. Children, is it silence
    In your hearts to night!
Hushed all angry passions,
    Evil put to flight?
If so, He will bless you,
    Coming from His Throne,
Seeking rest within you,
    You, His very own.
        Hark ! to-night, &c.


1. Engaddi (Sept., usually Čγγαδι; Hebr. 'En Gedhi, "Fountain of the Kid") is the name of a warm spring near the centre of the west shore of the Dead Sea, and also of a town situated in the same place. In II Par., xx, 2. it is identified with Asasonthamar (Cutting of the Palm), the city of the Amorrhean, smitten by Chodorlahomor (Gen., xiv, 7) in his war against the cities of the plain. Jos., xv, 62, enumerates Engaddi among the cities of Juda in the desert Betharaba, but Ezech., xlvii, 10, shows that it was also a fisherman's town. Later on, David hides in the desert of Engaddi (I Kings, xxiv, 1, 2), and Saul seeks him "even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats" (ibid., 3). Again, it is in Engaddi that the Moabites and Ammonites gather in order to fight against Josaphat (II Par., xx, 1, 2) and to advance against Jerusalem "by the ascent named Sis" (ibid., 16). Finally, Cant., i, 13, speaks of the "vineyards of Engaddi" ; the words, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades" (έν αιγιαλοις), which occur in Ecclus., xxiv. 18, may perhaps be understood of the palm trees of Engaddi.

To these strictly Biblical data concerning Engaddi the following notes taken from profane sources may be added. Josephus (Antiq., IX, i, 2) connects Engaddi with the growth of beautiful palm trees and the production of opobalsam. Pliny (Nat. Hist., V, xxvii, 73) places Engaddi only second to Jerusalem as far as fertility and the cultivation of the palm tree are concerned. Eusebius and St. Jerome (Onomastica sacra, Gottingen, 1870, pp. 119, 254) testify that at their time there still existed on the shore of the Dead Sea a large Jewish borough called Engaddi which furnished opobalsam. The name still lives in the Arabic form 'Ain Jedi, which is now applied to a mere oasis enclosed by two streams, the Wady Sudeir and Wady el-'Areyeh, and bounded by nearly vertical walls of rock. The former vineyards and palm groves have given place to a few bushes of acacia and tamarisk, and the site of the ancient town is now occupied by a few Arabs.

Source: A. J. Maas, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 5 of 15. (New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1913), p. 428. Return

Editor's Notes.

Several sources describe opobalsam as the balsam or balm of Gilead, an oleo-resin of a peculiar flagrancy, held in high esteem by the ancients, and believed to have medicinal qualities.

Also appeared in W. Chatterton Dix, ed., Christmas Carols & Christmas Customs (No publisher, location or date; ca. 1870). He recommends the music by Herbert Stephen Irons, Chester Cathedral, although he does not specify the tune.

He also added the notation "Lyra Messianica” which signals that this song appeared in Orby Shipley, ed., Lyra Messianica: Hymns and Verses on the Lie of Christ, Ancient and Modern (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green). I was not able to locate the song in the 1864 edition, and don't have access to the edition of 1869.

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