Christmas Hymns With Birds – The Worcester Christmas Carol

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

Words & Music by Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870), alt.

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

The Worcester Christmas Carol

How grand and how bright
That wonderful night,
When angels to Bethlehem came!
They burst forth like fires,
They struck their gold lyres,
And mingled their song with the flame.

The shepherds were mazed,
The pretty lambs gazed
At darkness thus turned into light:
No voice was there heard
From man, beast or bird,
So sudden and solemn the sight.

And then, when the sound reechoed around,
The hills and the dales all awoke:
The moon and the stars
Stopped their fiery cars,
And listened while Gabriel spoke:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

At mention of this,
(The source of all bliss,)
The angels sang loudly and long;
The soared to the sky,
Beyond mortal eye,
But left us the words of their song:

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca) by Raymond Barlow

Here are Ha­ver­gal’s orig­in­al lyr­ics for stan­zas where, due to ir­re­gu­lar­i­ties in me­ter, they do not ful­ly fit the mu­sic:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies all forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Most wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s but a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870) – The epitaph on Havergal’s white mar­ble tomb reads:

The Rev. William Henry Havergal, M.S.,
Vi­car of Shareshill and Hon. Canon of Worcester Ca­thed­ral.
Died at Leam­ing­ton, 19th Ap­ril 1870, aged 77.
Cur­ate 7, and Rec­tor 13 years, of this par­ish, 1822 to 1843.
A faith­ful min­is­ter in the Lord (Eph. Vi. 21).

Havergal was ed­u­cat­ed at Mer­chant Tay­lors School St. Ed­mund’s Hall, Ox­ford (BA 1815, MA 1819). He was or­dained a dea­con in 1816, and priest in 1817. He held three rec­to­rships: Ast­ley, Wor­ces­ter­shire (1829); St. Ni­cho­las, Wor­ces­ter (1842); and Shares­hill, near Wol­ver­hamp­tom (1860). Hymn­ist Franc­es Ha­ver­gal was his daug­hter.
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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ABC’s of the Gospel

Most information from The Cyber HymnalThe Worcester Christmas Carol

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