The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Shepherds, Rejoice!

Version 2
Compare Shepherds, Rejoice! Lift Up Your Eyes - Version 1
Shepherds, Rejoice, Lift Up Your Eyes - Version 3

Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Horę Lyrica, 1706-9

Music: "Ellacombe"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Meter: CMD

"Boston" by William Billings (1778)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

The first two stanzas are spoken by the angel Gabriel:

1. 'Shepherds, rejoice! lift up your eyes
And send your fears away;
News from the region of the skies:
Salvation's born today!
Jesus, the God whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you;
Today he makes his entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

2. 'No gold, nor purple swaddling bands,
Nor royal shining things;
A manger for his cradle stands,
And holds the King of kings.
Go, shepherds, where the Infant lies,
And see his humble throne;
With tears of joy in all your eyes,
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.'

3. Thus Gabriel sang, and straight around
The heavenly armies throng;
They tune their harps to lofty sound
And thus conclude the song:
'Glory to God that reigns above,
Let peace surround the earth;
Mortals shall know their Maker's love
At their Redeemer's birth.'

4. Lord! and shall angels have their songs
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose these useless tongues
When they forget to praise!
'Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn!'
We join to sing our Maker's love,
For there's a Saviour born.

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Shepherds Rejoice - Ellacombe

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Editor's Note:

Originally, I had the William Billings tune "Boston" attached to this hymn. However, on closer examination, I was unable to locate a hymnal with a public domain setting of this tune. As I looked through my collection of hymnals, I was unable to find a hymnal with any CMD (Common Meter, Doubled) musical setting, so I followed my own advice (see: What Is Meter?) and adapted the tune "Ellacombe" to fit the bill (above). If you find this tune inappropriate, feel free to use any other CMD tune that you feel more fully fits the lyrics of this hymn.

And, of course, subsequently I was able to locate a copy of Billings' The Singing Master's Assistant:

Sheet Music "Boston" by William Billings, The Singing Master's Assistant (1778)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

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