The Shepherd’s Carol
Methinks I see an heav’nly host
Of angels on the wing
Methinks I hear their cheerful notes
So merrily they sing – so merrily they sing:
Let all your fears be banish’d hence,
Glad tidings I proclaim,
For there’s a Saviour born today,
And Jesus is his name.
Lay down your crooks and quit your flocks,
To Bethlehem repair;
And let your wand’ring steps be squar’d
By yonder shining star–by yonder shining star.
Seek not in courts or palaces,
Nor royal curtains draw;
But search the stable, see your God
Extended on the straw.
Then learn from hence, ye rural Swains,
The Meekness of your God,
Who left the boundless Realms of Joy
To Ransom you with blood–to Ransom you with blood.
The Master of the Inn refus’d
A more commodious Place;
Ungenerous Soul of Savage Mould,
And destitute of Grace.
Exult ye oxen, low for joy,
Ye tenants of the stall,
Pay your obeisance, on your knees
Unanimously fall–unanimously fall.
The royal guest you entertain
Is not of common birth,
But second to the great I Am;
The God of heav’n and earth.
Then suddenly a heav’nly host
Around the shepherds throng,
Exulting in the threefold God
And thus address their song–and thus address their song:
To God the Father, Christ the Son,
And Holy Ghost ador’d;
The First and Last, the Last and First,
Eternal praise afford.
— William Billings (1746-1800), American
Sung by His Majestie’s Clerkes, Paul Hillier, conducting
Merry Christmas to you all!
Hal and Melanie