Wednesday, January 5, 2011

That Night In the Long Ago

You may recall that last year I celebrated the Twelve Days of Christmas here at CWS with a daily Christmas selection, including several that had likely not been sung anywhere for many years. I decided not to continue that this year (though I certainly would not have run out of things to present), but you can revisit them yourself through the archive links at the right.

Here, on the twelfth day of this Christmas season, I have one last song that I stumbled upon this week. I found it while looking through The Royal Hymnal for the Sunday School (1899) for something else entirely. I don't think I can even explain why I like it; it's a bit like the near-ragtime Easter song from several months ago (harmonically if not rhythmically), and I think it would be fun to sing at least once.

Do you know the song that the angels sang
On that night in the long ago,
When the heav'ns above with their music rang
Till it echoed in the earth below?

All glory in the highest,
Peace on earth, goodwill to all,
Glory, glory in the highest,
(In the highest, glory, glory)
Glory in the highest,
Glory in the highest,
Peace on earth, goodwill to all.

Do you know the song that the shepherds heard
As they watched o’er their flocks by night,
When the skies bent down, and their hearts were stirred
By the voices of the angels bright?

Do you know the song that the sages learned
As they journeyed from the east afar,
O’er a pathway plain, as there nightly burned
In the heights a glorious guiding star?

Abner P. Cobb, 1893; alt.
SONG IN THE NIGHT (Irregular with refrain)
James H. Fillmore, Sr., 1893

P.S. The painting above is from Song of the Angels (1881) by the French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

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