While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Composer
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_unchecked radio_button_unchecked
Season
Voicing(s)
Category
Instrumental Only?
No
Description

Christmas Madrigal — SATB a cappella. A contrafactum (re-working with a new text) of Dowland's madrigal What If I Never Speed. Text by Nahum Tate (adapted by Mark Schweizer). Full of the verve of a Renaissance dance.

Audio
Lyrics

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord with heavenly hosts came down.

“Fear not!” said he, for dread
Had seized their troubled minds.
“Glad tidings of great joy
Be to you and all mankind.

We have left our flocks a-grazing upon the field,
So come with us, and see the Holy Child.

“to you, in Bethlehem
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ, and this shall be the sign:

“The heavenly Babe you find to view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in bands, and in a manger laid."