Saturday, December 26, 2015

By Prophets Long Foretold (Day Two)

For the second day of Christmas we return to the modified hymns of Simon Patten (1852-1922) in his 1916 collection Advent Songs, previously discussed here.  This is his "replacement" for the well-known While shepherds watched their flocks by night, which seems to have been the first hymn approved for use in the Church of England.

While shepherds, watching flocks by night
Would more of heaven know,
A figure seemed from stars to form
And come to them below.

In pleasing voice the angel spoke,
From God above I come
A loving message to repeat
And tell you of God's Son.

To you this day in Bethlehem
Is born a Child divine,
Who from your woe shall make you free,
Your hearts, like gold, refine.

Behold, a humble manger bed
Which to the world displays
A Child of heav'nly parentage
Whose beauty shall amaze.

When this was said, an echo came
From some enraptured throng,
Whose voices rose in gladsome praise
Of this fair Child in song.

Rejoice, rejoice, the day has come,
By prophets long foretold,
When love and peace on earth may dwell
Their glory to unfold.

Simon N. Patten, 1916; alt.
George Frederick Handel, 1728;
arr. Lowell Mason

Six Years Ago: Good King Wenceslas

One Year Ago: Saint Stephen

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