The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Dark Is The Even

For Christmas

Words: A translation by K. W. Simpson of the carol Su levate pastori, from the “Laude Spirituali,” 1674.

Music: Italian melody (La Rosellina) from the “Laude Spirituali,” 1674.

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #135, pp. 14-15.

1. Dark is the even;
Yet is the heaven
Lighted and glowing around us.
Shepherds arising
In wild surmising,
“Magic indeed hath found us.”

2. Fair roses growing
Mid winter's snowing,
Who hath the vision beholden?
Yet, o'er the meadows
Through midnight's shadows
See! How the sun is golden!

3. Over His dreaming
Radiance is streaming
Flooding the desolate manger!
In Mary's keeping
Soft He is sleeping,
Held in her arms from danger.

4. From God descended,
Ragged, untended,
Birds in the branches above them
Warmer are biding,
Safe in their hiding,
Clothed by the hands that love them!

5. Cattle are calling
There in His stalling:
Joseph and Mary are keeping
Watch o'er His moving,
Faithful and loving;
Happy the Babe is sleeping.

6. Melodies ringing
Angels are singing,
Songs all around us are swelling:
“Sun of the morning!
Tender Thy dawning!
Darkness and ill dispelling!”

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #135, pp. 14-15.

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