While Shepherds Watched

The carol While Shepherds Watched dates back to 1703. The words for While shepherds watched were written by Nahum Tate, who was the Poet Laureate in the reign of Queen Anne, and Nicholas Brady. Only the Psalms of David were sung in the Anglican Church prior to that time. Tate and Brady were the first to paraphrase the psalms for singing in rhyme which then became distinctive of their work. The familiar melody used for While Shepherds Watched was taken from "Siroe," an opera by George Frederick Handel.

On a lighter note children love to parody the words “While shepherds watched their flocks by night” and replacing them with “While Shepherds wash their socks by night!”

Christmas Carols Index

While Shepherds Watched : Lyrics

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While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around

"Fear not," he said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,
To you and all mankind."

"To you in David's
Town this day
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign."

"The heavenly Babe
You there shall find
To human view displayed
And meanly wrapped
In swathing bands
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph,
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

"All glory be to
God on high
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease!"


While Shepherds Watched – Christmas Carol Music and lyrics

While Shepherds Watched

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