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!