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O little town of Bethlehem (Forest Green)


Ralph Vaughan Williams


English Traditional Melody
Text by Phillip Brooks


O little town of Bethlehem,
   how still we see thee lie!
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
   the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
   the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
   are met in thee tonight.

O morning stars together,
   proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
   and peace to men on earth!
For Christ is born of Mary,
   and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
   their watch of wondering love.

How silently, how silently,
   the wondrous Gift is givīn;
So God imparts to human hearts
   the blessings of His Heavīn.
No ear may hear His coming,
   but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him
   still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy
   pray to the blesséd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee,
   Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching
   and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
   and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
   descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
   be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
   the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
   our Lord Emmanuel!


O little town - Vaughan Williams

Created 15-Sep-08

O little town of Bethlehem

O Little Town of Bethlehem written by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest, who was inspired when he was visiting the town of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his organist, Lewis Redner, added the music. Redner's tune, simply titled "St. Louis", is the tune used most often for this carol in the United States. The English tune "Forest Green", adapted by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is the tune most often used for this carol in the United Kingdom and sometimes in the U.S. as well, especially in the Episcopal Church.

Another version by H. Walford Davies is usually performed only by choirs rather than as a congregational hymn. This is because the first four verses are for treble voices with organ accompaniment, with only the final verse as a chorale/refrain harmony.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

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O little town of Bethlehem (Christmas Carol) - Sir. Henry Walford Davies Of the Father’s love begotten - P. Nyland