While by my sheep I watched at night / Als ich bei meinen Schafen wacht' (Traditional)

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  • (Posted 2018-06-17)  CPDL #50167:       
Editor: Ronald McVey (submitted 2018-06-17).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 26 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Arranged by Ronald McVey.
  • (Posted 2009-09-25)  CPDL #20249:  Network.png PDF, MIDI and Capella files available
Editor: Christoph Lahme (submitted 2009-09-25).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 26 kB   Copyright: CC BY-SA 3.0 Germany
Edition notes: Arranged by Christoph Lahme. Score with text in English and other score in German
  • (Posted 2008-12-16)  CPDL #18563:  Network.png
Editor: Rod Mather (submitted 2008-12-16).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 23 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Arranged by Hugo Jüngst.
  • (Posted 1999-10-04)  CPDL #00190:        (Finale 1998)
Editor: Rafael Ornes (submitted 1999-10-04).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 22 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Arranged by Hugo Jüngst.

General Information

Title: Als ich bei meinen Schafen wacht (While by my sheep I watched at night)
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Lyricist: Friedrich Spee

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB

Genre: SacredCarol

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1623 Attributed to Auserlesene Catholische geistliche Kirchengesange
Description: An echo carol whose tune reached its usual form around 1871. Another popular singing translation is "My sheep were grazing in a field"

External websites:

Original text and translations

German.png German text

Friedrich Spee (1591-1635)

1. Als ich bei meinen Schafen wacht',
ein Engel mir die Botschaft bracht.
Des bin ich froh (bin ich froh),
froh, froh, froh (froh, froh, froh),
benedicamus Domino (benedicamus Domino).

2. Er sprach:"Der Heiland Jesus Christ
zu Bethlehem geboren ist!"
Des bin ich froh…

3. Er sagt, das Kind läg da im Stall
und sollt die Welt erlösen all.
Des bin ich froh…

(the Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols (1993) gives verse 2 as "Er sagt', es soll geboren sein zu Bethlehem ein Kindelein")

9. Den Schatz muss ich bewahren wohl,
so bleibt mein Herz der Freuden voll.
Des bin ich…

English.png English translation


1. While by my sheep I watched at night,
Glad tidings brought an angel bright:
How great my joy (great my joy,)
Joy, joy joy, (Joy, joy joy,)
Praise we the Lord in heaven on high. (Praise we the Lord in heaven on high.)

2. There shall be born, so He did say,
In Bethlehem a Child today:

3. There shall He lie in manger mean,
Who shall redeem the world from sin:

This gift of God we'll cherish well,
That ever joy my heart shall fill.

Lord, evermore to me be nigh,
Then shall my heart be filled with joy!
Translation by Theodore Baker