The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

On Christmas Night

For Christmas

Words: On Christmas Night All Christians Sing, Attributed to Bishop Luke Waddinge (1628- ca. 1691), Bishop of Ferns, Ireland
A Smale Garland of Pious and Godly Songs (Ghent, 1684)

This is one of many variants of this carol;
See
On Christmas Night - Notes and On Christmas Night - Sheet Music.

Source: R. Vaughan Williams, Eight Traditional English Carols (London: Stainer & Bell, Ltd., 1919), Carol #2, "On Christmas Night" (Sussex), pp. 8-10.

Tune and text collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams,
from Mrs. Verrall's version on May 24, 1904, which was first published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Volume 2 in 1905.

See: On Christmas Night - R. Vaughan Williams
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

1. On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring;
On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring:
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

2. When sin departs before Thy grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
When sin departs before Thy grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the newborn King.

3. All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night;
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and forevermore. Amen."

Sheet music from R. Vaughan Williams, Eight Traditional English Carols (London: Stainer & Bell, Ltd., 1919), Carol #2, "On Christmas Night" (Sussex), pp. 8-10.

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These verses were first incorporated into Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912).

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), #28, p. 49.

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Sheet Music from Richard R. Terry, Old Christmas Carols. Part One. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., n.d., ca. 1923), Carol #22, p. 28.

Terry has this version of the carol, also giving verses 1, 3, and 4.

Editor's Note:

The sheet music from Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (1933), seems to contain two errors in the first verse. However, it seems likely that the lyrics as above should be substituted for those on the sheet music. Those errors did not exist in the sheet music found in Terry's earlier Old Christmas Carols-Part One (1923) (the lack of a “b” in the second being seems to be only a problem of ink as there is space for the letter and a small “dot” where the letter would appear).

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