1 Softly upon Bethlehem’s plains
Falls the gentle dew of night;
Sweetly solemn silence reigns—
Earth how calm, and Heav’n how bright!
Every star shines out alone,
Looking down from Heav’n to earth;
Beautiful as first they shone
Radiant at Creation’s birth.
2 O’er the sloping mountain’s side,
Clustering flocks of sheep repose;
Watchful shepherds there abide,
Feed and guard them from their foes:
There they watch from evening’s ray,
Sleepless until midnight’s hush;
There in thoughtful musings stay,
Till the tears of twilight gush.
3 Happy shepherds! lift your eyes;
Eastward cast your glance afar;
See! what luster gilds the skies,
Lit by yonder signal star!
Slow descending from above,
See! an angel form appears!
God’s own messenger of love
Brings glad tidings to your ears.
4 See! he folds his snowy wings;
Heav’n in mercy stoops to earth;
Listen to the news he brings,
Tidings of Messiah’s birth!
Shout in triumph, earth and Heav’n,
Swell the song of sweet accord;
Jesus lives, "the Son is giv’n,"
Bow, and worship "Christ the Lord."
5 Multitudes of angels sing
Strains celestial, songs divine;
Glory to the newborn King!
Men may now with angels join;
Hallelujahs loud and long
Swell upon the shepherds’ ears,
Richer far than mortal song,
Or the music of the spheres.
6 Happy shepherds! let us go
Unto Bethlehem and see
God made manifest below,
Smiling on His mother’s knee.
Babe almighty! earth’s desire!
Heav’n’s anointed One art Thou;
Men and angels, son and sire,
Place the crown upon His brow.
Gough, Benjamin, was born at Southborough, Kent, in 1805, and died Nov. 28,1877. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits in London for some years. After retiring from business he resided at Mountfield, Faversham. He was a member and lay preacher of the Wesleyan denomination. His poetical works include:—
(1) Lyra Sabbatica, Lon., 1865; (2) Kentish Lyrics, London, 1867; (3) Hymns of Prayer and Praise, London, 1875; and several minor publications, the most important being (4) Protestant Hymns & Songs for the Million, Lon., 1878; (5) Songs from the Woodlands, and Other Poems, Lon., 1872; and (6) Christmas Carols and New Year's Songs, Lon. (n.d.).
Of Mr. Gough's hymns, about 20 are in common use in Great Britain and America, and of these the m… Go to person page >
Display Title: Softly Upon Bethlehem's PlainsFirst Line: Softly upon Bethlehem’s plainsTune Title: BETHLEHEM-JUDAHAuthor: Benjamin GoughMeter: 77.77 DSource: Christmas Minstrelsy by Joseph Williams and Henry Gauntlett (London and Mancehster: Novello & Bremner, 1864)