The Shepherd's Song



Sweet music, sweeter far

Than any song is sweet:

Sweet music, heavenly rare,

Mine ears, O peers, doth greet.

You gentle flocks, whose fleeces pearled with dew,

Resemble heaven, whom golden drops make bright,

Listen, O listen, now, O not to you

Our pipes make sport to shorten weary night:

voices most divine

Make blissful harmony:

Voices that seem to shine,

For what else clears the sky?

Tunes can we hear, but not the singers see,

The tunes divine, and so the singers be.

Lo, how the firmament

Within an azure fold

The flock of stars hath pent,

That we might them behold,

Yet from their beams proceedeth not this light,

Nor can their crystals such reflection give.

What then doth make the element so bright?

The heavens are come down upon earth to live

But hearken to the song,

Glory to glory's King,

And peace all men among,

These quiristers do sing.

Angels they are, as also (shepherds) He

Whom in our fear we do admire to see.

Let not amazement blind

Your souls, said he, annoy:

To you and all mankind

My message bringeth joy.

For lo! the world's great Shepherd now is born,

A blessed Babe, an Infant full of power:

After long night uprisen is the morn,

Renowning Bethlem in the Saviour.

Sprung is the perfect day,

By prophets seen afar:

Sprung is the mirthful May,

Which winter cannot mar.

In David's city doth this Sun appear

Clouded in flesh, yet, shepherds, sit we here!