The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Shepherds From The Mountains

For Christmas

Words: A Provençal Carol.

English Words written for it by K. W. Simpson.

Music: French melody

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #48, pp. 18-19.

1. “Shepherds from the mountains!
Whence this singing
Sweetly ringing?
Whence this song of triumph
Echoing down the sky?”
     “T'is the Angel chorus,
     Hov''ring around and o'er us,
     With tidings new,
     With tidings true,
     From God the Lord most high!”
          Gloria in excelsis,
          In excelsis Deo!

          And peace on earth;
          Thro' Jesus' birth
          Salvation now is nigh!

2. “Shepherds from the mountains!
Who come riding,
(Glancing, gliding),
Decked with burning jewels
In such bold array”?
     “These are Princes hieing,
     Where the Babe is lying;
     With jewels fair,
     And gold and myrrh,
     They seek the King this day!”
          Gloria in Excelsis!
          In Excelsis Deo!
          The Kings of Earth
          Come writing forth,
          Their homage true to pay!

3. “Shepherds from the mountains!
Tell me truly
(Right and duly),
Who may be these old men
Following far behind”?
     “'Tis the Magi, bearing
     Gifts for Jesus' sharing:
     That radiant Star
     Has led them far
     Where lonely pathways wind!”
          Gloria in Excelsis!
          In Excelsis Deo!
          The good, the wise,
          (Where Jesus lies),
          New happiness shall find!

4. “Shepherds from the mountains
Guide us, prithee!
Take us with 'ee,
Where the Saviour lieth,
Born this happy day!”
     In a manger lowly,
     Joseph, Mary holy,
     Watch o'er the Son,
     The Holy One!
     We lead ye! Come away!
          Gloria in Excelsis!
          In Excelsis Deo!
          Now peace on earth
          Thro' Jesus' birth,
          And shadows flee away!

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #48, pp. 18-19.

048a-Shepherds_From.jpg (189267 bytes) 048b-Shepherds_From.jpg (128324 bytes)

Note from Rev. Terry:

I obtained this melody from a (Bodleian Library) copy of “Antient Christmas Carols” collected and published in 1860 by Edmund Sedding, the tune being associated with English verses (by William Morris), which (whatever their merits as poetry) can only be described as a metrical misfit. According to Sedding, he obtained the tune from the then organist of Chartres Cathedral, but he gave no clue to the original words. Enquiries at Chartres having failed to trace them, the present ones (based on a Provençal original) have been supplied. [Ed.].

NB. This edition of Antient Christmas Carols (1860) is on order. When it comes in, add the page with this tune to this page on the web site.

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