While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The words to 'While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks' date from at least as far back as 1700, and are usually thought to have been written by Nahum Tate.  As with many carols, different tunes are used in different parts of the world.  I have used the 'Winchester Old' tune, which is the one that is usually sung in England, and which can be traced back to the sixteenth century.

Chords

Capo at 7th Fret


          G

While shepherds watched

          C              G
Their flocks by night


G               A7        D            D7
All seated on the ground,

       C                                       D
The angel of the Lord came down

       
C        D          G
And glory shone around.



          G
"Fear not," he said,

       C           G
For mighty dread


       
G                  A7            D            D7
Had seized their troubled minds.

          C                                  D
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring

     
C            D          G
To you and all mankind."




        G
"To you in David's

C                G
Town this day


   
G            A7        D            D7
Is born of David's line

        C                                       D
The Savior who is Christ the Lord

        
C             D         G
And this shall be the sign."




          G
"The heavenly Babe you


C                 G
There shall find


     
G          A7            D            D7
To human view displayed

        C                                D
And meanly wrapped in swathing bands

       
C     D            G
And in a manger laid."



          G
Thus spake the seraph

C             G
and forthwith

    
G              A7        D            D7
Appeared a shining throng

      C                                         D
Of angels praising God who thus

     
C                    D         G
Addressed their joyful song:




          G
"All glory be to

C           G
God on high


      
G          A7           D            D7
And to the Earth be peace.

         C                                                     D
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men

   
C            D        G
Begin and never cease."

Lyrics

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around.

"Fear not," he said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds.
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind."

"To you in David's
Town this day
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign."

"The heavenly Babe you
There shall find
To human view displayed
And meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:

"All glory be to
God on high
And to the Earth be peace.
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease."

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