Whilst Shepherds Watch'd

Whilst Shepherds Watch'd

Original Text
Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, ed. William Sandys (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), pp. 147-48. PR 1195 C2S2 1973 Music Library Toronto.
2    All seated on the ground,
3The Angel of the Lord came down,
4    And glory shone around.
5Fear not, said he, for mighty dread
6    Had seized their troubled mind,
7Glad tidings of great joy I bring
8    To you and all mankind.
9To you in David's town this day
10    Is born of David's line
12    And this shall be the sign.
13The heavenly Babe you there shall find,
14    To human view display'd,
16    And in a manger laid.
17Thus spake the Seraph, and forthwith
20    Address'd their joyful song:
21All glory be to God on high,
23Good-will henceforth from Heav'n to men
24    Begin and never cease.


1] The poem is attributed to Tate. For the traditional melody, by T. Ravenscroft, see The Cambridge Hymnal, edited by David Holbrook and Elizabeth Poston (Cambridge, Eng.: University Press, 1967), p. 313. A history of this carol is in The New Oxford Book of Carols, ed. Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 482-83. The scriptural story told by this carol appears in Luke 2.8-14.

Whilst: modernized to "While" in The Hymnal 1982, Vol. 2 (New York: Church Hymnal Corp., 1985), no. 95. Back to Line

11] A Saviour, which: modernized to "The Saviour, who" in The Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
15] swaddling: modernized to "swathing" in The Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
18] a heavenly: modernized to "a shining" in The Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
19] and thus: modernized to "who thus" in The Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
22] to the: modernized to "on the" in The Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
25] omitted in the modernized Hymnal 1982. Back to Line
Publication Start Year
Publication Notes
Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, Supplement to New Version of the Pslams of David (1696).
RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition
RPO 1998.