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Whilst Shepherds Watch'd Their Flocks
Nahum Tate



Whilst Shepherds watch’d their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The Angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
Fear not, said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
To you in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign.
The heavenly Babe you there shall find,
To human view display’d,
All meanly wrapt in swaddling bands
And in a manger laid.
Thus spake the Seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a heavenly throng
Of Angels praising God, and thus
Address’d their joyful song:
All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace,
Good-will henceforth from Heav’n to men
Begin and never cease.

This poem is in the public domain.


Nahum Tate (1652 - 1715) was a poet, hymnist, and playwright born in Dublin, Ireland. He studied at Trinity College then moved to London, where he built a quite successful career writing adaptations of other people's plays--in particular, rewriting Shakespeare’s tragedies to have happy endings. Nahum was also very successful as a lyricist, collaborating with his friend, composer Nicholas Brady. Together they created a number of hymns, including this one, which was the only Christmas hymn authorized to be sung by the Angligan church and which has been included in virtually all hymnals since it was first written. Nahum served as poet laureate of England during the reign of William and Mary, but a lack of self-control led to an increasingly unpleasant life and he died a debtor and a drunk in 1715.


Post New Comment:
So inspirational and keeping within the season, even though no one knows when the Babe was born. it leaves the heart warm and in the loop of our faith.
Posted 12/30/2014 11:24 AM
Many many years ago my high school choir sang an arrangement of this. Now I know where it came from! Thanks so much!
Posted 12/25/2014 01:44 PM
A wonderful selection for the day, especially combined with Jayne's included history. The English and their language; their penchant for precise description; their very words; their gift.
Posted 12/25/2014 10:01 AM
I can hear the music! Merry Christmas!!
Posted 12/25/2014 09:25 AM
Posted 12/25/2014 08:17 AM

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