The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

There Was Silence In Bethlehem's Fields That Night

A Song of the First Christmas Night

For Christmas Eve

Words: William Chatterton Dix (1837-1865)

Music: Not Stated

Source: William Chatterton Dix, ed., A Vision of All Saints (London: John Hodges, 1871), pp. 123-24.

1. There was silence in Bethlehem's fields that night,
    Where the shepherds their flocks were keeping;
The stars calmly shone from their beautiful height,
    The sheep on the hills lay a-sleeping,
And the quiet that fell on that wondrous hour
    From all other was strangely parted,
And hope, that for years had been robb'd of her power,
    Was the hope of the weary-hearted.

2. How dreary the ages of strife passed away,
    Since word of His Coming was spoken!
Still, still the deep darkness that reigns ere the day,
    And quietness almost unbroken.
Through darkness and silence Peace hasted to earth,
    Where sheep on the hills lay a-sleeping,
And the Angel declared the wonderful Birth—
    The end of our sorrow and weeping.

3. Then suddenly came to this Angel most bright
    A host of the Heavenly Chorus,
And a glory brake forth more dazzling to sight
    Than the sun which at noon-day burns o'er us;
The silence was over, the hope long deferred,
    The waiting for Christ and His glory,
When the Angels sang out, and the listeners heard
    The tidings they brought in their story.

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