The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Ode For Christmas 1793

Words: Royall Tyler (1757-1826), 1793

Music: William Billings, 1770


1. Hail to the joyous day,
On which our Lord was born;
Lift high the vocal lay,
And sing the blissful morn.
Your voices raise!
To hail the morn
On which was born
The Lord of grace.

2. That sun which cheers the plains,
The seasons as they move,
Rich dews and fertile rains,
All prove his sovereign love.
Your voices raise!
To Him who cheers,
The fruitful years,
Be grateful praise.

3. He o'er the trackless waste
Our pious fathers led;
And though in desert plac'd,
He them with blessings fed:
Your voices raise!
To Him who binds
The waves and winds,
Be endless praise.

4. He crown'd fair freedom's cause;
He made our nation great;
The Leader of our wars
He raised to rule our States.
Your voices raise!
To Him who brings
To earth proud kings,
Be deathless praise.

5. He taught us to discern
Blest Freedom's sacred plan;
And Europe's kingdoms learn
Of us the rights of man.
Your voices raise!
To Him who broke
Oppression's yoke,
Be endless praise.

6. Where roam'd the savage race,
In cruelty and blood,
He form'd this sacred place,
A temple for our God.
Your voices raise,
Let earth resound,
The choral sound
Of sovereign grace.

7. Here where the savage foes,
Their deathful war-song sung,
Sweet peace her olive shows,
And joy on earth is sung.
Your voices raise!
Let all accord
To praise the Lord,
The Lord of grace.

8. When fell contagion cast
The gale of death around,
He turn'd the sickly blast,
And ruddy health we found.
And voices raise!
To Christ the Son,
Who crowns his own
With length of days.

9. Has sorrow weigh'd us down,
He gave, when death was near,
A balm for ev'ry wound,
A joy for ev'ry tear.
Your voices raise!
To Him who hears
The wretch's prayers,
Be endless praise.

10. Let solemn viols sound,
And breathing flutes combine;
Swell the full notes around,
With grateful voices join.
Your voices raise!
On every wing,
In transport sing
The Saviour's praise.

Note: A musical setting can be found in Roy Ringwald's Book Of American Carols (2004). Ringwald gives verses 1, 3, 4, 7, and 10 (alt). He cites the musical source as Billings.

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