The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Blessed Night, When Bethlehem's Plain

A cento from Blessed Night, When First That Plain
And See: Blessed Night, When First That-Medley

Words: Rev. Horatius Bonar, alt.

Music: J. W. Sidebotham
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Carol #81, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

1. Blessed night, when Beth'lem's plain
Echo'd with the joyful strain,
"Peace has come to earth again."
Alleluia!

2. Blessed hills that heard the song
Of the glorious angel throne
Swelling all your slopes along
Alleluia!

3. Happy shepherds, on whose ear,
Fell the tidings glad and clear,
"God to man is drawing near."
Alleluia!

4. Thus revealed to shepherds' eyes,
Hidden from the great and wise,
Entering earth in lowly guise--
Alleluia!

5. Entering by the narrow door,
Laid upon this rocky floor,
Placed in yonder manger poor.
Alleluia!

6. We adore Thee as our King,
And to Thee our song we sing
Our best offering to Thee bring.
Alleluia!

7. Mighty King of Righteousness,
King of Glory, King of Peace,
Never shall Thy Kingdom cease!
Alleluia!

Sheet Music from J. W. Sidebotham From Carol #81, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

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Note:

This cento first appeared in William Walsham How, Ashton Oxenden, John Ellerton, eds., Children's Hymn Book (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1881), #72, p. 73. Credit is often given to Mrs. Carey Brock, The Deanery, Guernsey, who wrote the Preface. Her full name is given as "Frances Elizabeth Georgina Carey Brock." The tune she used was "St. Eanswyth," by J. W. Sidebotham, 7774.

On the same page was  "Hark What Music Fills The Sky," by Miss E. (Esther) Wiglesworth (1827-1907), to the same tune, and which has been printed as a Medley. See: Blessed Night, When First That-Medley.

The sheet music "St. Eanswyth" by J. W. Sidebotham, from the Children's Hymn Book (1881).

Blessed_Night-Bethlehem-no72-p73.jpg (57021 bytes)

Another cento of Bonar's hymn occurs in the 1895 Hymnal from the Presbyterian Church in six verses:

1. Blessed night, when first that plain
Echo'd with the joyful strain,
"Peace has come to earth again."

2. Blessed hills that heard the song
Of the glorious angel throne
Swelling all your slopes along

3. Happy shepherds, on whose ear,
Fell the tidings glad and clear,
"God to man is drawing near."

4. Thus revealed to shepherds' eyes,
Hidden from the great and wise,
Entering earth in lowly guise—

5. Entering by the narrow door,
Laid upon this rocky floor,
Placed in yonder manger poor.

6. Blessed Babe of Bethlehem,
Owner of earth's diadem,
Claim and wear the radiant gem.

The music for this version was "Blessed Night," 777, by William W. Gilchrist, 1895. Another tune for this hymn is St. Eanswyth.

Sheet Music "Blessed Night" From The Hymnal Published by Authority of The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1995), #79.

179-Blessed Night-Hymnal-1895.jpg (42154 bytes)

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