A band of herdsmen tarried late,
Through hours of night disconsolate;
Around, the snow lay glistening white,
And stars o'erhead were shining bright;
O favoured shepherds, there shall rise
A brighter star in yonder skies.
Whence comes this glory, brighter far
Than light that shines from midnight star?
An angel from the Lord appears,
And lo! their minds are filled with fears;
O favoured shepherds, wherefore fear?
The messenger of God is here.
"O band of herdsmen, list! I bring
Glad tidings of a promised King;
Go, in a manger ye shall find
The new-born Saviour of mankind";
O favoured shepherds, such surprise!
To see the Christ in mean disguise.
Then stood the herdsmen all amaze,
For heaven with glory was ablaze;
And choirs of angels, clad in white,
Awoke with song the silent night:
O favoured shepherds, ye are blest,
To hear that heavenly song exprest.
"To God be glory," thus they sang,
While earth and heaven with music rang;
"And peace abounding henceforth dwell
With those on earth who please Me well";
O favoured shepherds, night is past,
And morn, bright morn, is come at last.
O band of herdsmen, long ago,
That song was sung on earth below;
Now myriad hosts uplift the strains
That first awoke on Bethlehem's plains:
O favoured shepherds, round the throne,
The angel's song is now your own.
Source: Hymns of the Early Church: translated from Greek and Latin sources; together with translations from a later period; centos and suggestions from the Greek; and several original pieces #70