The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Christmas Carol

For my Godchildren

Alternate Title: The Shepherds Had An Angel

Words: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), 6 October 1856

Music: F. L. Wiseman and J. C. Bridge

Source: Carols #510 and 601, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

1. The Shepherds had an Angel,
The Wise Men had a star,
But what have I, a little child,
To guide me home from far,
Where glad stars sing together
And singing angels are?

2. Lord Jesus is my Guardian,
So I can nothing lack;
The lambs lie in His bosom
Along life's dangerous track
The wilful lambs that go astray,
He bleeding fetches back.

3. Lord Jesus is my guiding star,
My beacon-light in heaven:
He leads me step by step along
The path of life uneven:
He, true light, leads me to that land
Whose day shall be as seven.

4. Those Shepherds through the lonely night
Sat watching by their sheep,
Until they saw the heavenly host
Who neither tire nor sleep,
All singing 'Glory glory,'
In festival they keep.

5. Christ watches me, His little lamb,
Cares for me day and night,
That I may be His own in heaven:
So angels clad in white
Shall sing their 'Glory glory,'
For my sake in the height.

6. The Wise Men left their country
To journey morn by morn,
With gold and frankincense and myrrh,
Because the Lord was born:
God sent a star to guide them
And sent a dream to warn.

7. My life is like their journey,
Their star is like God's book;
I must be like those good Wise Men
With heavenward heart and look:
But shall I give no gifts to God?
What precious gifts they took!

8. Lord, I will give my love to Thee,
Than gold must costlier,
Sweeter to Thee than frankincense,
More prized than choicest myrrh:
Lord, make me dearer day by day,
Day by day holier;

9. Nearer and dearer day by day;
Till I my voice unite,
And sing my 'Glory glory'
With angels clad in white;
All 'Glory glory' given to Thee
Through all the heavenly height.

Graphic Line

Sheet Music  by F. L. Wiseman from Charles L. Hutchins, #510
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Shepherds_Had_An_Angel_510.gif (218643 bytes)

Sheet Music  by J. C. Bridge from Charles L. Hutchins, #601
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Shepherds_Had_An_Angel_601.gif (357629 bytes)

The format, capitalization and punctuation of the poem follow that printed in William Michael Rossetti, ed., The Poetical Works Of Christina Georgina Rossetti (London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd., 1904, reprint of 1935, Poem #271, page 187-8.

Compare the words in the well-regarded Harold Darke musical setting: A Christmas Carol (2) and this common rendition: A Christmas Carol (1). The Darke setting is available from Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Other poems set to music:

Other Christmastide Poems by Christina Rossetti.

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