As shepherds watched their fleecy care (Joseph Key)

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  • CPDL #25609:        (Sibelius 7)
Editor: Edmund Gooch (submitted 2012-02-20).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 59 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: The first verse and chorus only are underlaid in the source: the four subsequent verses are printed after the music, in each case followed by 'Cho.' to indicate that the chorus should be sung after each verse. Notes printed in the source as small grace notes have been written out editorially. The alto part is printed in the source in the treble clef, an octave above sounding pitch.
MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: As shepherds watched their fleecy care
Composer: Joseph Key

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredCarol   Meter: 88. 88 (L.M.) with refrain

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1785 in Five Anthems, Four Collects, Twenty Psalm Tunes, p. 44.

Description: It is the second of three carols in that book. Hymn Tune Index tune number 4551.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

As shepherds watched their fleecy care,
An heav'nly angel did appear:
'Shepherds, attend; to you I bring
Glad tidings of a new-born king.'
Loud hosannas send on high,
Raise your voices to the sky:
Hymns of praises ever sing,
To this new-born heav'nly King.

In Bethle'm town this blessed morn,
The Saviour of mankind is born;
Born of a spotless virgin pure,
Free from all sin, from guilt secure.
Loud hosannas send on high,
Raise your voices to the sky:
Hymns of praises ever sing,
To this new-born heav'nly King.

Arise, your tender care forsake,
With hasty steps your journey take,
To David's city; there you'll find
The great redeemer of mankind.
Loud hosannas send on high,
Raise your voices to the sky:
Hymns of praises ever sing,
To this new-born heav'nly King.

In swaddling clothes the babe behold,
No costly garb his limbs unfold,
Laid in a manger there you'll see
The pattern of humility.
Loud hosannas send on high,
Raise your voices to the sky:
Hymns of praises ever sing,
To this new-born heav'nly King.

To save us from eternal death,
The great Messiah came on earth;
Then let us with united voice
In hallelujahs all rejoice.
Loud hosannas send on high,
Raise your voices to the sky:
Hymns of praises ever sing,
To this new-born heav'nly King.