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It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - Edmund Sears

First published in 1849, these lines mark the first of any carols by an American writer and one of only two lyrics penned by Edmund Sears. “Although I was educated in the Unitarian denomination, I believe and preach the divinity of Christ,” he wrote. The depths of turmoil at its writing are in stark contrast to the peace which the lines profess: the Civil War loomed near; the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution was ongoing and the obsessive rush for greed of gold in the west was disrupting communities. One can almost see the wistful wonder Edmund must have visualized of the hope yet to come.

 

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, good will to men
From heav’n’s all gracious King” –
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
 
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful strains unfurled,
And still their heav’nly musick floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hov’ring wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
 
But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring;–
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!
 
And 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 hast’ning on
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
 


 Melody Publications' focus is to reawaken the melody of truth in believers' hearts and minds at home and abroad. Our prayer is that our work would aid churches and families as they sing "Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs" in praise and worship to our God.


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