The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

To Weary Shepherds Sleeping

For Christmas Eve

Words: Italian carol Poiche l'umil Capanna from the “Laude Spirituali,” 1674, translated by K. W. Simpson.

Music from the “Laude Spirituali,” 1674

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #138, pp. 20-21.

1. To weary shepherds sleeping,
    A blinding light appeared;
And from their couches leaping,
    They scatter'd, all a-fear'd;
But Gabriel spake to calm them
From all that did alarm them.

2. With silver wings and golden
    A mighty host they saw:
Ne'er had their eyes beholden
    Such majesty before.
Said Gabriel that even:
“I come from God in Heaven.”

3. And while His words they ponder
    The angel host around
Cried: “In a manger yonder
    The King of Kings is found!
Go shepherds, do not tarry;
Your loving homage carry.”

4. In joy they turned their faces
    To where they heard He lay,
And merry were their paces
    And songs upon the way.
And when the dawn was creeping
They found Him sweetly sleeping.

5. Their gifts they laid around Him
    With shy and humble word,
And – happy to have found Him –
They lingered and adored.
(While Gabriel – upward winging –
“Now Peace on Earth!” was singing)

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #138, pp. 20-21.

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