Upon the snow-clad earth (Arthur Sullivan)

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  • (Posted 2010-07-19)  CPDL #21985:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2010-07-19).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 34 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised files uploaded 7/4/21.
  • (Posted 2002-04-08)  CPDL #03514:  Network.png
Editor: Paul Howarth (submitted 2002-04-08).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 49 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: from the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive

General Information

Title: Upon the snow-clad earth
Composer: Arthur Sullivan

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredCarol

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1876 by Metzler & Co

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1  Upon the snow-clad earth without,
The stars are shining bright,
As Heaven had hung out all her lamps
To hail our festal night:
For on this night, long years ago,
The blessed Babe was born,
The saints of old were wont to keep
Their vigil until morn.

2  'Twas in the days when far and wide
Men owned the Caesar's sway,
That his decree went forth that all
A certain tax should pay.
Then from their home in Nazareth's vale,
Obedient to the same,
With Mary, his espoused wife,
The saintly Joseph came.

3  A stable and a manger, where
The oxen lowed around
Was all the shelter Bethlehem gave,
The welcome that they found!
Yet blessed among women was
That holy mother maid
Who on that night her first-born Son
There in the manger laid.

4  The King of kings, and Lord of lords,
E'en from His very birth,
Had not a place to lay His head,
An outcast in the earth:
And yet we know that little Babe
Was tender to the touch,
And weak as other infants are;
He felt the cold as much!

5  In swaddling bands she wrapped Him round,
And smoothed His couch of straw,
While unseen Angels watched beside,
In mute, adoring awe.
How softly did they fold their wings
Beneath that star-lit shed,
While eastern sages from afar
The new-born radiance led!

6  And thus it is, from age to age,
That as this night comes round,
So sweetly, underneath the moon,
The Christmas carols sound.
Because to us a Child is born,
Our Brother and our King,
Angels in Heaven, and we on earth,
Our joyful anthems sing.