Methinks I see an Heav'nly HostImage: Albrecht Dürer, Life of the Virgin: 9. The Adoration of the Shepherds. (The Nativity), 1504-05, woodcut, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich
of angels on the wing;
methinks I hear their cheerful notes,
so merrily they sing.
Let all your fears be banished hence,
glad tidings I proclaim;
for there's a Savior born today
and Jesus is his name.
Lay down your crooks and quit your flocks,
to Bethlehem repair;
and let your wandering steps be squared
By yonder shining star.
Then learn from hence, ye rural swains,
the meekness of your God,
who left the boundless realms of joy,
to ransom you with blood.
The master of the Inn refused
A more commodious place;
Ungen'rous soul of savage mould
And destitute of grace.
Exult ye oxen, low for joy,
ye tenants of the stall;
Pay your obeisance;
on your knees unanimously fall.
The Royal Guest you entertain
is not of common birth,
But second to the Great I Am,
The God of Heav'n and earth.
Then suddenly a Heav'nly Host
around the shepherds throng,
exulting in the Three-fold God,
and thus addressed their song.
-- SHILOH, tune by William Billings (The Suffolk Harmony, 1786)