Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga

The Shepherd Watchers

Representative Text

While humble shepherds watched their flocks
in Bethleh’m’s plains by night,
An angel sent from heav’n appeared,
and filled the plains with light.

Fear not, he said, (for sudden dread
had seized their troubled mind;)
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you, and all mankind.

To you, in David’s town, this day
is born, of David’s line,
The Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
and this shall be the sign:

The heav’nly Babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
All meanly wrapt in swaddling-bands,
and in a manger laid.

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God; and thus
addressed their joyful song:

All glory be to God on high,
and to the earth be peace;
Good-will is shown by Heav’n to men,
and never more shall cease.

Scottish Psalter and Paraphrases

Author: Nahum Tate

Nahum Tate was born in Dublin and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, B.A. 1672. He lacked great talent but wrote much for the stage, adapting other men's work, really successful only in a version of King Lear. Although he collaborated with Dryden on several occasions, he was never fully in step with the intellectual life of his times, and spent most of his life in a futile pursuit of popular favor. Nonetheless, he was appointed poet laureate in 1692 and royal historiographer in 1702. He is now known only for the New Version of the Psalms of David, 1696, which he produced in collaboration with Nicholas Brady. Poverty stricken throughout much of his life, he died in the Mint at Southwark, where he had taken refuge from his creditors… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: While humble shepherds watched their flocks
Title: The Shepherd Watchers
Author: Nahum Tate
Language: English




Thought by some scholars to date back to the Middle Ages, KINGSFOLD is a folk tune set to a variety of texts in England and Ireland. The tune was published in English Country Songs [sic: English County Songs] (1893), an anthology compiled by Lucy E. Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland. After having…

Go to tune page >


WINCHESTER OLD is a famous common-meter psalm tune, presumably arranged by George Kirbye (b. Suffolk, England, c. 1560; d. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, 1634) from a melody in Christopher Tye's Acts of the Apostles and published in T. Este's The Whole Book of Psalmes (1592) set to Psalm 84. Ki…

Go to tune page >



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
TextPage Scan

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #296

Hymns of the Saints #236

Include 10 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us