The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

On Christmas Night, All Christians Sing

Another Short Caroll for Christmas Day

For Christmas

Also known as
On Christmas Night All Christians Sing
On Christmas Night True Christians Sing
The Sussex Carol

See On Christmas Night - Notes and On Christmas Night - Sheet Music.

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)
Three verses of eight lines.

Music: English Traditional

Source: Bishop Luke Waddinge, A Smale Garland of Pious and Godly Songs (Gant, 1684).

On Christmas night all Christians sing
To heare what news the Angels bring
News of great Joy cause of great mirth
News of our mercifull King his birth
The King of Kings of Earth and heaven
The King of Angels and of men
Angels and men with Joy may sing
To see their new born King.

Angels with Joy sing in the Ayre
To him who can their ruins repaire
And prissoners in the Limbs rejoyce
To hear the Ecchoes of their voice
And how on Earth can man be sad
The Redeemer is come to make them glad.
From sin and hell to set them free
And buy their Liberty.

Then sin depart behould here's grace
And death here's life come in they place
Hell now thou mayst they terror see
Thy power great must Conquer'd be
And for thy darkness we have light
Which makes the Angels sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
For ever more. Amen.

Note:

Originally published by Bishop Waddinge, the Garland was first circulated to members of his parish, and to surrounding communities in Wexford. It would later be republished in 1728 and 1731, although the carols had been changed from the original (largely spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc).

The above lyrics, with modern spelling and punctuation, and modified to six four-line verses, would look like this:

On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear what news the Angels bring
News of great Joy, cause of great mirth
News of our merciful King, his birth

The King of Kings of Earth and heaven
The King of Angels and of men
Angels and men with Joy may sing
To see their new born King.

Angels with Joy sing in the Air
To him who can their ruins repair
And prisoners in the Limbs rejoice
To hear the Echoes of their voice

And how on Earth can man be sad
The Redeemer is come to make them glad.
From sin and hell to set them free
And buy their Liberty.

Then sin, depart behold here's grace
And death: here's life come in thy place
Hell now thou mayst thy terror see
Thy power great must Conquer'd be

And for thy darkness we have light
Which makes the Angels sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
For ever more. Amen.

Most of the versions of the carols since then have had this form, with several variations.

The usual lyrics for the Wexford carols are drawn from the 1728 or 1731 reprints. For the originals, see Diarmaid O Muirithe, The Wexford Carols (Mountrath, Portlaoise, Ireland: The Daimen Press, 1982). In addition to the lyrics, there is some excellent history about these carols.

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