The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

While The Shepherds Kept Their Vigil

For Christmas

Words: Rev. J. S. Stone

Music: Edgar Pettman

Source: Edgar Pettman, ed., The Westminster Carol Book (London: Houghton & Co., 1899), Carol No. 11, p. 15.

1. While the shepherds kept their vigil,
And the world in darkness lay,
Came the holy Advent Angel;
Shone the sudden glory ray;
Then, ten thousand times ten thousand,
Radiant heralds of the day.

2. Thus they sang the first sweet carol,
“Glory be to God on high,
And on earth be peace and blessing
To the nations far and nigh!”
So our God made good His promise,
And the old prophetic cry.

3. Fuller, farther, o'er the wide world,
Year by year the music swells;
Year by year to some new people
Christmas-tide the story tells,
With the chanting of the children,
And the pealing of the bells.

4. Louder over hill and valley
Let the towers and steeples ring!
In the hamlet and the city
Sweeter carols let us sing –
Louder peals of holy pleasure,
Sweeter carols to our King!

5. Hear Thy children, blessed Jesus,
Once for us on earth a child;
Keep us in Thy great compassion
Holy, harmless, undefiled;
Blest through Thee by God the Spirit,
To the Father reconciled.

6. Still we wait for Thine appearing,
O Thou bright and Morning Star!
Still we look to hear the rolling
Of Thy great triumphal car;
We, who sing Thy first glad advent,
Know Thy second is not far.

Sheet Music from Edgar Pettman, ed., The Westminster Carol Book (London: Houghton & Co., 1899), Carol No. 11, p. 15.

Pettman_11-While_The_Shepherds_Kept.jpg (486570 bytes)

Also found in Edgar Pettman, ed., Modern Christmas Carols (London: Weekes & Co., 1892), #11:

11-While_The_Shepherds_Kept_Their_Vigil.jpg (91049 bytes)

Note from Pettman: No. XI.—To be sung softly and piquantly; 5th verse, Trebles and Tenors pianissimo last verse loud and full.

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