The Shepherd Watchers

Representative Text

1 While humble shepherds watched their flocks
in Bethlehem's plains by night,
an angel sent from heaven appeared,
and filled the plains with light.

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

3 '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:

4 'The heavenly Babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing-bands,
and in a manger laid.'

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

6 'All glory be to God on high,
and to the earth be peace;
good will is shown by heaven to men
and never more shall cease.'

Source: Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #296

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
Copyright: Public Domain



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…

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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…

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The Cyber Hymnal #8362
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  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)


Instances (1 - 7 of 7)
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Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #296

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #296

Hymns of the Saints #236


The Cyber Hymnal #8362

TextPage Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #R37a

TextPage Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #R37b

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The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #R37c

Include 11 pre-1979 instances
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