George Jeffreys
(c.1610 - 1685)

Hark, shepherd swains (For the nativity of our most blessed Saviour)
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Christmas motet, written most probably for a one-to-a-part choir. The organ part lacks figuring in the manuscript source.
Lyrics: Anon

Hark, shepherd swains, awake,
Give ear and banish fear;
Behold, good news I bring to you,
Whence shall accrue great joy of heart
To all that dwell in Israel.
To you in Bethlem there is born today
A saviour, Christ the Lord, whom heavens obey.
To try the truth: haste on, and ye the babe shall see;
Sweet babe, fair spark of heavenly light,
So poorly dight, in clothing mean,
Most like a wretch lodged in a cratch.
But now, in honour of this mean-born king,
Hark how my fellow soldiers sweetly sing:
"All glory be to God above,
Whose gracious love this prince of peace hath sent,
Whose birth brings peace on earth;
In whom by faith may all mankind God's favour find.
Now, then, both heaven and earth keep holy day,
And jointly sing we all Alleluia".