It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Representative Text

1 It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

2 Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats
o'er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains,
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o'er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

3 And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

4 For lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: Edmund H. Sears

Edmund Hamilton Sears was born in Berkshire, Massachusetts, in 1810; graduated at Union College, Schenectady, in 1834, and at the Theological School of Harvard University, in 1837. He became pastor of the Unitarian Society in Wayland, Mass., in 1838; removed to Lancaster in 1840; but on account of ill health was obliged to retire from the active duties of the ministry in 1847; since then, residing in Wayland, he devoted himself to literature. He has published several works. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >


CAROL (Willis)

NOEL (Sullivan)

The tune NOEL (also used at 185) is also known as EARDISLEY or GERARD. Arthur Seymour Sullivan (b Lambeth, London. England. 1842; d. Westminster, London, 1900) adapted this traditional English melody (probably one of the variants of the folk song "Dives and Lazarus"), added phrases of his own to rec…

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