The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Run, Shepherds, Run

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Original Title: The Angels For The Nativity Of Our Lord

Alternate Title: The Angel's Song

Words: William Drummond (1585-1649), from Flowers of Sion: To which is Adjoyned His Cypresse Grove, 1623

Music: Unknown

Source: Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), pp. 97-98.

Run, Shepherds, run where Bethlem blest appears,
    We bring the best of news, be not dismayed:
A Saviour there is born, more old than years
    Amidst Heaven's rolling heights this earth who stayed;
    In a poor cottage inned, a Virgin Maid,
A weakling did Him bear, who all upbears,
    There is He poorly swaddled, in a manger laid
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres:

Run, Shepherds, run, and solemnize His birth.
    This is that night -- no, day grown great with bliss,
    In which the power of Satan broken is;
In Heaven be glory, peace unto the Earth,
    Thus singing through the air the angels swam,
    A cope of stars re-echoed the same.

Sylvester's Note:

William Drummond, of Hawthornden, the friend of Ben Jonson, was the author of the following two sonnets. Jonson once trudged on foot to Scotland to see and converse with the man whom he had long known as a friendly correspondent. From Jonson's rude manners it does not appear that their mutual regard was enhanced.

Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvestre" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

Also found in Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 273, under the title "The Angels." She also gives attribution to William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649).

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 128. "By William Drummond of Hawthornden." He notes at page 263:

"Too often in reading Drummond of Hawthornden we feel that the poet is giving us “words, words, words.” His work is always polished and refined, but seldom throbs with life. The two sonnets I have quoted are graceful but (it must be confessed) commonplace. There is an elaborate life of Drummond (who died in 1649) by Professor Masson."

Editor's Note:

The original poem, from The Poems of William Drummond of Hawthornden, edited With a Memoir and Notes by William C. Ward, Vol. 2 of 2. (London: Lawrence and Bullen, and New York: Chas. Scribner's Sons, 1894), pp. 7-8.

Run, shepherds, run where Bethlem blest appears,
We bring the best of news, be not dismay'd,
A Saviour there is born, more old than years,
Amidst heaven's rolling heights this earth who stay'd :
In a poor cottage inn'd, a virgin maid
A weakling did him bear, who all upbears ;
There is he poorly swaddl'd, in manger laid,
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres :
Run, shepherds, run, and solemnize his birth,
This is that night no, day, grown great with bliss,
In which the power of Satan broken is ;
In heaven be glory, peace unto the earth !
...Thus singing, through the air the angels swam,
...Amid cope of stars re-echoed the same.

Other Christmas and related poems by Drummond from Flowers of Sion:

Note that some portions of the last poem repeat the false story that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute; that error arose from a misreading of scripture. There is no evidence that this Mary engaged in this activity. In the 8th chapter of the Gospel of Luke we read:

1 And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary that was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered unto them of their substance.

Source: American Standard Version of the Holy Bible (1902).

 

== from the txt file:

Flowers of Sion-Wm Drummond


Flowers of Sion: To which is Adjoyned His Cypresse Grove. 1623
William Drummond
Da Capo Press, 1623 - 80 pages


Title: The Angels For The Nativity Of Our Lord

For Christmas

Words: William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649)

Source: The Poems of William Drummond of Hawthornden
Edited With a Memoir and Notes by William C. Ward, Vol. 2 of 2. (London: Lawrence and Bullen, and New York: Chas. Scribner's Sons, 1894), pp. 7-8. Also published as "Flowers of Sion" in 1630 by John Hart.

The Angels For The Nativity Of Our Lord

Run, shepherds, run where Bethlem blest appears,
We bring the best of news, be not dismay'd,
A Saviour there is born, more old than years,
Amidst heaven's rolling heights this earth who stay'd :
In a poor cottage inn'd, a virgin maid
A weakling did him bear, who all upbears ;
There is he poorly swaddl'd, in manger laid,
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres :
Run, shepherds, run, and solemnize his birth,
This is that night no, day, grown great with bliss,
In which the power of Satan broken is ;
In heaven be glory, peace unto the earth !
...Thus singing, through the air the angels swam,
...Arid cope of stars re-echoed the same.


FOR THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD.
O THAN the fairest day, thrice fairer night !
Night to best days in which a sun doth rise,
Of which that golden eye, which clears the skies,
Is but a sparkling ray, a shadow light :
And blessed ye, in silly pastors' sight,
Mild creatures, in whose warm crib now lies
That heaven-sent youngling, holy-maid-born wight,
Midst, end, beginning of our prophecies :
Blest cottage that hath flowers in winter spread !
Though withered, blessed grass, that hath the grace
To deck and be a carpet to that place h
Thus sang, unto the sounds of oaten reed,
Before the babe, the shepherds bow'd on knees,
And springs ran nectar, honey dropp'd from trees.

p. 8

pp. 8-9
AMAZEMENT AT THE INCARNATION OF GOD.
To spread the azure canopy of heaven,
And make it twinkle with those spangs of gold,
To stay this weighty mass of earth so even,
That it should all, and nought should it uphold ;
To give strange motions te the planets seven,
Or Jove to make so meek, or Mars so bold,
To temper what is moist, dry, hot, and cold,
Of all their jars that sweet accords are given,
Lord, to thy wisdom nought is, nor thy might
But that thou shouldst, thy glory laid aside,
Come meanly in mortality to bide,
And die for those deserved eternal plight,
A wonder is so far above our wit,
That angels stand amaz'd to muse on it.

p. 9
FOR THE BAPTIST.
THE last and greatest herald of heaven's King,
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he than man more harmless found and mild :
His food was locusts, and what young doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distill'd ;
Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exil'd.
There burst he forth : "All ye, whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn ;
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn."
Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry ?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their marble caves,
"
Repent, repent !"

p. 9-10
FOR THE MAGDALENE.
THESE eyes, dear Lord, once brandons of desire,
Frail scouts betraying what they, had to keep,
Which their own heart, then others set on fire,
Their trait'rous black before thee here out-weep :
These locks, of blushing deeds the fair attire,
Smooth-frizzled waves, sad shelves which shadow deep,
Soul-stinging serpents in gilt curls which creep,
To touch thy sacred feet do now aspire.
In seas of care behold a sinking bark,
By winds of sharp remorse unto thee driven,
O ! let me not expos'd be ruin's mark ;
My faults confest, Lord, say they are forgiven
Thus sigh'd to Jesus the Bethanian fair,
His tear-wet feet still drying with her hair.

= = = American Standard Version of the Holy Bible (1902).
Luke 8
1 And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary that was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered unto them of their substance.

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