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It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

[ Roud 24646 ; words E.H. Sears (1810-1878), tune English trad.]

Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band sang It Came Upon the Midnight Clear in 1987 on their Saydisc album A Tapestry of Carols, and in a live recording from their December 1997 Christmas Tour that was released a year later on their Park CD An Evening of Carols and Capers.

The Albion Christmas Band sang It Came Upon the Midnight Clear in 2008 on their CD Snow on Snow,


Maddy Prior sings 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 heaven’s 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.

Yet with te woes of sin and strife
The world hath 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:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening 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 splendors fling,
And thou all world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.