Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let Peace Surround the Earth (Day Three)

Shepherds rejoice! lift up your eyes
And send your fears away;
News from the regions of the skies,
Salvation’s born today.

Jesus, the God whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you;
Today he makes his entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

Go, shepherds, where the infant lies,
And see his humble throne
With tears of joy in all your eyes,
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.

Glory to God that reigns above!
Let peace surround the earth!
Mortals shall know their Maker’s love,
At their Redeemer’s birth.

And thus shall angels have their songs,
And we no tunes to raise?
O may we lose our useless tongues
When they forget to praise.

Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forlorn;
We join to sing our Maker’s love,
For there’s a Savior born.

Isaac Watts, 1706; alt.
Peder Knudsen, 1859

Isaac Watts wrote here another paraphrase of Luke 2:8-14, but with some interpolations of his own; apparently he thought he could do better than Nahum Tate, but Tate's version has lasted much longer. Watts is more comfortable with venturing beyond a strict paraphrase; it's often stated that when he told his father he was tired of only singing psalm paraphrases, his father challenged him to write something better.

One Year Ago: Sir John Goss

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