Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”is a Christmas Carol that was written by a Unitarian pastor named Reverend Edmund Hamilton Sears. He wrote the poem in 1849  and was published in Boston’s Christian Register that same year.

According to Angels and Miracles:

The American composer Richard Storrs Willis, who had studied music with renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn in Germany, wrote a tune called ‘Carol’ and adapted the words of Sears’ poem to that music about a decade after the poem was first published. The result was the best known version of ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.’ But in England, the lyrics of ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ were set in 1874 to a different tune, called ‘Noel,’ written by composer Arthur Sullivan.

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O’ ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing



About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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