1] The poem is attributed to Tate. For the traditional melody, by T. Ravenscroft, see The Cambridge Hymnal, edited by David Holbrook and Elizabeth Poston (Cambridge, Eng.: University Press, 1967), p. 313. A history of this carol is in The New Oxford Book of Carols, ed. Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 482-83. The scriptural story told by this carol appears in Luke 2.8-14.
Whilst: modernized to "While" in The Hymnal 1982, Vol. 2 (New York: Church Hymnal Corp., 1985), no. 95.
11] A Saviour, which: modernized to "The Saviour, who" in The Hymnal 1982.
15] swaddling: modernized to "swathing" in The Hymnal 1982.
18] a heavenly: modernized to "a shining" in The Hymnal 1982.
19] and thus: modernized to "who thus" in The Hymnal 1982.
22] to the: modernized to "on the" in The Hymnal 1982.
25] omitted in the modernized Hymnal 1982.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, ed. William Sandys (London: Richard Beckley, 1833), pp. 147-48. PR 1195 C2S2 1973 Music Library Toronto.
First publication date: 1696
Publication date note: Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, Supplement to New Version of the Pslams of David (1696).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/6/28
Other poems by Nahum Tate